Zack Snyder has already scored a number of points with me for his adaptations of "300" and "The Watchmen", so I was very excited to hear about "Sucker Punch" and saw it as the eye-candy piece it promised to be. I marked the date on the calender, I kept up to date on any changes to that date, and I made certain that I had no other plans to interfere with the viewing of this film. Hell, damnit, I was going to take the afternoon off work just for the chance to see this film. What followed was a series of minor frustrations as reviews painted a negative picture, the theater had technical difficulties, and the bleak weather outside threatened to rain out my entire week. I nearly backed out of my trip to the theater when I found out my son might be heading home early from school but my wife insisted I should go (Saving grace yet again, she deserves so much credit). So, the previews hit the screen and then the film began...
Nothing prepared me for Zack Snyders' vision. Alot of people are not going to "get" this film. That's a given... there's so much going on and the director doesn't really "explain" anything with the films narrative, leaving plenty for the audiences interpretation. A young woman ("Babydoll", played by Emily Browning) is thrown into an insane asylum by her evil stepfather after the death of her mother. She is scheduled to undergo a lobotomy by the corrupt orderly who runs most of the asylum, and she meets the institutes psychiatrist (Carla Cugino) whose introduction sparks the sudden spiral into Babydoll's "fantasy world" where the film dives head first into a second level story. "Babydoll" is now sold into prostitution where the Orderly is actually a pimp, the other patients have become prostitutes desperate to escape their sordid world, and their psychiatrist is now a dance instructor paid to keep them in shape and in line. And Babydoll formulates a plan to escape this nightmare and her own reality, where we find a third layer when Babydoll begins her own "dance" routines... a fantasy world within her fantasy world, where a wise teacher offers tools, advice, and guides the girls through several missions. All of these things lead Babydoll to her redemption and escape from the reality of her real world nightmares.
Okay, and here is where the "fanboy" in me goes a little crazy.... STEAMPUNK-NAZI-ZOMBIES!!!! YES YES YES!!!! Missions in that third level of fantasy include fight with zombies, samurai warriors, mech robots, aliens, cyborgs, orcs, goblins, a dragon, and on and on and on... it's pure GEEK-GASM!!! Sucker Punch never lets up on the assault as Zack Snyder delivers a great story within a story and allows everything to come together nicely for a finely executed ending that goes beyond the Hollywood norm. This isn't some whitewashed film sent through marketing for approval... this is pure art and it's a great beginning for the career of Zack Snyder. His visual style and narrative techniques never condescend and he gives his audience the respect of finding their own interpretations without spelling out every detail through dialogue. I look forward to more work from this talented young man and urge everyone to check out Sucker Punch. You won't be sorry.