Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sucker Punch : Feminist Reading in a Fantasy World

Overall Rating : 3 / 10

Watching Sucker Punch after days of not being able to see any movie is like drinking water after a long table tennis game. You are delighted by its taste, even if there is really nothing to be delighted about. That is, the movie failed in many aspects.

Failure 1 : Weak Narrative

I thought the story would hold water, but after watching the movie and given enough time to process what the movie was trying to tell- I got lost in the process. 

The movie was supposed to depict the transformation of this scared and shy girl into a survivor- one who does not fear anything. The movie started off with this theme.

However, while the narrative was trying to reach this point where we see the main character- Baby Doll, learn to be stronger, learn to lead her pack; a sudden shift happened when the limelight focused on Sweet Pea. While Baby Doll try to metamorphose into a new "being", Sweet Pea evidently was the one who got a new lease of life.

It wasn't really a problem if the director or screenwriter wanted to make Sweet Pea an unanticipated main antagonist, but the problem was that Sweet Pea didn't have much screen exposure in this movie.

Failure 2 : Weak Portrayal of the Fantasy World vs. Reality

The movie obviously tried to achieve an alternative world setting. Baby Doll envisioned a fantasy world (the brothel), and in that fantasy world is the other layered fantasy world as envisioned by Baby Doll.

It was all too convoluted. It was like trying to watch Inception where you dream inside a dream and so on. 

The real problem with the Fantasy World was that the audience was left guessing which is which in the movie. The alternative world Baby Doll envisioned was clearly a fake one. But the brothel left the audience guessing whether is was real or not.

At the end of the movie, we realize that everything that happened was only in the mind of Baby Doll. And the events that happened in the fantasy world, were all carried out in reality.

To me, it was like reading the novel of Paulo Coehlo where the main antagonist traveled the world just to find the treasure he was looking for was under his very house. The journey became senseless.

Senseless. This is exactly how I felt for Sucker Punch. 

If you try to empower women characters, portray them as somebody who can fight for themselves then they should not have set the movie in a fantasy world. 
Should not have locked Baby Doll in that institution in the end.

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