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SUCKER PUNCHED

March 26, 2011

It wasn’t as awful as I was expecting, which was somehow disappointing. Quick adjectives: tawdry, tinny, too poorly written. Yes, directors (and I speak as both a writer and director), maybe it’s best not to write the script you’re directing. Major holes were left in the plot. Zack Snyder gets mood and projects it well, but to actually own that mood, to have it absorb your audience, you have to have build a foundation out of solid plotting and compelling characters.

Snyder did do a good job of not making it sexy. Six attractive actresses and no titillation, just implied abuse and camera shifts away murder. Until we get to the flashy costumed dance sequences over the end credits, which shot holes in my limited respect for his previous restraint. Abbie Cornish, who I’ve seen no reviews really mention, plays the center of this abusive mess with a wounded gravity and quiet surges of emotion the movie doesn’t deserve. Vanessa Hudgens’ one slow motion fight sequence is a reminder of how well she moves (I’ve thought this since Thunderbirds) and how effectively she can carry a fight or dance sequence. I’m surprised Snyder didn’t use her in more of the action sequences, but that was only for the blonde girls.

Tawdry. Underdeveloped characters. Ragged plotting. Despicable situations that horrified Gayle. Points to the actresses for creating characters that someone actually cared about out of nothing. All of them deserve much better movies.

Snyder can do mood and deliver a fight sequence, but there’s a lot more to a movie. The “keep fighting” message is a good one, but the delivery seems to either horrify or bore much of its intended audience. The two moviegoers in front of us only seemed thrilled by the Cruel and Unusual Films logo appearance at the end.

So Sucker Punch summary: Abbie Cornish has made my pay attention to list; Jena Malone looks like a young Meg Ryan and did well; damn, Emily Browning made me forget I hate girls dressed up in sailor suits/school uniforms for the benefit of onlookers and just respect her effort; Vanessa Hudgens needs a truly heroic part and Jamie Chung looks to have more potential than she was allowed to use here.

So I was expecting truly laughingly awful and instead I had a horrified date and a “meh” feeling after. Good intentions* don’t make for good filmmaking and if you’re going to miss the mark this widely and imply sexual abuse throughout the movie, it would be so much better to do it with an artsy movie no one will be tempted to take one of my nieces to.

*Snyder and the actresses have been frequently asked to discuss the “female empowerment” aspects of Sucker Punch.

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From → entertainment, movies

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