Zack Snyder’s ‘Sucker Punch‘ is the cinematic equivalent of Max Fischer, the main character of Wes Anderson’s ‘Rushmore:’ it may be in all of these really awesome and interesting after-school clubs, but it’s barely passing its regular classes. As a longtime fan of Snyder, I was excited to see a completely self-generated project after four of them which were derived from existing works, but the film exemplifies both the director’s strengths and weaknesses: as a visual stylist, his proficiency is almost incomparable, but he really seems to need an existing story, or at least story structure, to use as a foundation upon which to build those movie moments. A work of unsurpassed style but frivolous substance, ‘Sucker Punch’ is Zack Snyder‘s first misfire and ultimately, and for fans, unfortunately, just not a great film.
The film stars Emily Browning (‘The Uninvited’) as Baby Doll, a young woman committed to a mental institution after assaulting her stepfather with a pistol. Although she’s watched closely by the administrator, Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac), and his resident psychiatrist, Dr. Gorski (Carla Gugino), Baby Doll soon meets fellow inmates Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), and Amber (Jamie Chung), and forms a tenuous friendship as their world transforms from an insane asylum into a brothel where they’re the main attraction. But when Baby Doll discovers that the High Roller (Jon Hamm) is coming in five days to perform a lobotomy/ take her innocence, the five of them hatch a plan with the help of the Wise Man (Scott Glenn) to acquire a series of items which in theory should help her escape to freedom.