Sucker Punch tells the story of Babydoll, who, after the death of her mother, ends up in Lennox House for the mentally insane due to the machinations of her evil stepfather.
It becomes quite clear from the start that if she wants to survive with her cranial capacities intact, she’ll have to escape. Enlisting the friends of fellow inmates Rocket, Blondie, Amber and the reluctant Sweet Pea, she starts on a mission to gather items that will aid them in their escape.
To help her in all of this, Sweet Pea withdraws into her own fantasy world, which seems to be some kind of parallel to the grimy reality she really tries to survive in.
Visually, the movie is extremely pleasing. The scenes are extremely well set up and are a fabulous mix of fantasy, steampunk and dieselpunk with grimy noir mixed into it. The soundtrack was pretty awesome too in my opinion. So if you want to go for something that just looks awesome, you’ll probably love this movie.
Especially if you’re into video games, because graphics are at times reminiscent of those.
Plot-wise, it’s put very well together. It leaves you wondering just how much is real and how much is in Babydoll’s imagination. Of course, at times that’s blatantly obvious, but it’s often very subtle too, making it more than the fantasy adventure it’s made out to be. It tends to reach out and grab you, making you root for the characters and hope they get out safe, escape the asylum they’re being held in against their wills.
Its real strength is that it’s not one of those “Oh my God, must escape the bad guys, but this is Hollywood so we’ll have a big adventure and succeed!” kind of movies. No, this is very bittersweet and right up to the very end you keep on being surprised.
It’s not a movie for those expecting a straight-on happy ending, and it’s definitely one of those movies that may leave you wondering whether you love it or think you’ve just wasted some good cash on the ticket.
This story first appeared in Gatehouse Gazette #18 (May 2011), p. 10, with the headline “Sucker Punch”.