Carl: According to the map, the cabin should be right here. Lenny: Hey, maybe there is no cabin. Maybe it’s one of them metaphorical things. Carl: Oh yeah, yeah… Like maybe the cabin is the place inside each of us, created by our goodwill and teamwork. Lenny: [in a flash of insight] Ohhh! Nah, they said there would be sandwiches. – The Simpsons, “Mountain of Madness“
Sucker Punchfeels like it was written by a seventeen year-old boy; and that’s only a good thing some of the time.
As a film that switches between realities, this particular film only works when the characters are in the hyper-battle reality where they’re shooting and doing amazing wire work.
When they are there…holy shit, it’s nothing short of amazing. The number of times I said, “Hot” during the film went into the triple digits (ask my friend Pansy, she was keeping count). All of the actresses are outstanding doing their fighting stunts, firearms sequences and fight choreography.
There’s a bit where Abbie Cornishis wearing a hoodie mixed with medieval shoulder pad armor (pictured above) that is fantastic. The style of the characters and landscapes combined with the action are fantastic. I could have watched that part of the movie for hours. Just that for an evening would have made this film an A+. The problem is they did not stay in that reality. Instead, the “narrative thread” that strings together these amazing scenes is something out of a bad high school notebook.
Homer [while watching the movie]: I’ve heard how this ends, it turns out the secret code was the same nursery rhyme he told his daughter! – The Simpsons, “Colonel Homer“
The entire movie is like this quote. The metaphors are so heavy handed that it’s any wonder the actors could lift the scripts. Entire scenes and huge chunks of dialogue made absolutely no sense. Metaphor or not.
In keeping with the metaphors, the film had this dark / goth tone across the A storyline (if one could call it that) and it was simply unnecessary. Speaking of which, I suspect the mascara budget on this film was in the high six figures (it would have been cheaper to just buy Lancome).
Back to the reality switching for a moment. The bizarre irony of the film is that on the one hand it relies on the imagination of a woman in the 1950’s who is dreaming about things that did not exist sixty years ago, and on the other hand she lacks imagination to do certain fundamental things in the plot.
I also call a bit of dirty pool on the director for establishing a film that is following the POV of a specific character…then having entire sequences without that character in the room. This was done a few times. It’s just sloppy writing.
The other element of the film that was obtrusive was the music. The opening sequence is little more than a music video (which, I have to ask the director if he had enough confidence in the scene that he should have just left it to stand by itself). The music overall is done as a series of cover versions of classic songs that we know and love. Except the Bjork song. Which is the original. To which I’d ask: pick one! Do either all covers. Or all originals. Doing both just gets annoying.
But maybe my temper was running high because I wanted them to go back to the hyper-reality action stuff.
BTW, the music is used during the dance sequences where the main character zones out and shifts into the hyper-battle reality. The most hilarious thing about the film is that when she finishes her “dance” the characters who have seen this are shown crying. She’s such a good dancer that she makes people weep. Again. The heavy hand combined with the music just make it…ugh.
Overall, I’d say that if you want a movie that you can mute for long periods of time to read comics and then unmute when some of the most insane action sequences come on than this is your movie!
If you are looking for a deep and meaningful movie that speaks to the human condition.
See the statement above. Rating: C-