06/04/2011

My Thoughts On Sucker Punch A Week After Everyone Has Stopped Talking About It

 
WARNING: Contains mild spoilers

I bet when the marketing wizards behind the decidedly meh Watchmen decided to label Zack Snyder as 'the visionary director of 300', they probably didn't think his fifth feature would cause such an unmitigated shitstorm. Sucker Punch has barely been in UK cinemas for a week and my eyes are starting to burn from all the endless articles being churned out regarding Snyder's next project and whether or not having the female ensemble cast confined to an imaginary brothel and in a constant state of undress is misogynistic.

I hate to fight against the tide but Sucker Punch is more of an insult to filmmaking than an insult to women. Numerous people have said Snyder intended to make an empowering film but I don't buy it and he said the exact opposite at a Q&A I intended at Waterloo's IMAX. If anything, it was supposed to be a visual feast aimed at the Comic-Con audience which featured good looking young women in skimpy outfits but while the latter was achieved with aplomb (interestingly, the costume designer is a man), Sucker Punch failed on the most basic level because it doesn't feel like a film. What connects each scene other than a banging tune? NOTHING. Who are the women behind the basques? DON'T KNOW. Why the hell do they need something out of a dragons neck?  I HAVE NO CLUE. Why does the antagonist look like the lovechild of Prince and Rick James? NOT SURE, BUT THAT EYELINER AND JOHN WATERS TACHE IS FIERCE.

The misogyny debate will roll on and on but I may have to take Snyder's back on this. Misguided and poorly executed it may be, but as a person with a working set of fallopian tubes I'm far more offended by the endless marriage obsessed cretins in every rom-com ever made and certain sequels that made me want to slaughter everything in sight than some chicks in their knickers holding phallic weaponry. Similarly, there is no female character in any film for the Comic-Con audience who does not have the smallest bit of man made fibres rubbing against them so why all the outrage? I assume Sucker Punch has got everyone in such a tizz because the women are vacant and characterless vessels whose only use is to give teenage boys some new material and to be honest, I have no idea how Snyder thought Babydoll (Emily Browning) would come across as empowered as she grimaced her way through the beginning of a sexy dance for some fat bloke in a trilby.

If anything I wish Snyder really, really went for it. Sure, it's got samurais, dragons and robots but not only did each battle look the same, each transition into the next level of Babydoll's mind (someone watched Inception) is same. This clearly isn't the film he intended to make and while I don't want to go all Tookey on your asses, having such sexualised imagery without purpose or context in a 12A film is more than a little wrong.

But before this "review" gets even more rambly (apols), I'd like to point out the prime reason why Sucker Punch fails almost entirely. Before sitting through it a second time at the IMAX, Snyder was present to do a Q&A and I don't know if he was drunk, bored or hungover but I've never witnessed someone use so many words whilst saying nothing at all (CUE A JOKE ABOUT THIS VERY POST). Only a few questions were thrown at him and it took what felt like hours for him to answer and if the writer/director doesn't know what he or his film is trying to say, then how the hell will we?