January 28, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 34°F


Punchy visuals can’t save plot

Director Zack Snyder’s latest extravaganza, “Sucker Punch,” is an experiment in visual overindulgence gone wrong.

Emily Browning plays Baby Doll, a petite, feisty 20-year-old who is imprisoned in a brothel fronting as a mental institution by her ruthless stepfather. Baby Doll, along with four other big-breasted heroines, including the opinionated Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket, Blondie and Amber plan an ambitious escape to avoid being harmed by their pimp, Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac). Baby constructs a dream world in order to gain the confidence she needs to lead the other gals to freedom.

This premise obviously caters to a largely male audience with an appetite for scantily-clad women parading around. The movie needs more sizzling entertainment to be successful with its target audience. The tame, restrictive PG-13 rating was probably used for financial concerns, but the studios should’ve let Snyder make an R-rated film that properly reflects his vision. No matter the amount of skin shown, the easiest way “Sucker Punch” could’ve been successful is if the director’s attention wasn’t focused on the actress’s figures but on their acting.

Bad acting aside, it’s impossible to get over Steve Shibuya and Snyder’s idiotically paced script. There are too many instances in the picture where scenes start and end with no motivation. Hyperactive children at least have a reason for their short attention spans, but Shibuya and Snyder have no excuse for their random ideas.

This filmmaking disaster even extends to the stale score. Instead of creating new material, music directors Tyler Bates and Marius de Vries are over reliant on commercialized tunes such as Queen’s “I Want It All.” All of the songs are rearranged into headache-inducing, nonsensical noise. It’s never clear if what the audience is watching is a narrative film or an overly long music video.

However, Larry Fong’s cinematography accomplishes mixing dark, foggy aspects of film noir with blended hues reminiscent of water color paintings.

For 109 minutes, a good premise is continually wasted on a disorganized plot. Fast cuts and slow motion photography are utilized well, but there isn’t enough substance to warrant this movie’s existence. Audiences should avoid being suckered into seeing this “work of art.”

“Sucker Punch” was written by Steve Shibuya,  and written and directed by Zack Snyder.

1 out of 4 stars