Archive for March, 2011

Sucker Punch (and further proof that Movie Critics have no idea what they’re saying. )

 

I was rather afraid that this blog would eventually turn into a movie review blog, and it appears that I may be right. 

However, I do feel that this post is necessary, for a few reasons. The people who know me personally are well aware that I treat movie critics with practically no respect. They say don’t go see something, I go and see it, they highly recommend something, I ignore it. Granted, there are always a few exceptions. My unusual taste in music, movies, literature and art leads me to have my doubts about many critics. 

So, Sucker Punch, the consensus of the critic community: Don’t bother, yes, it really is that absolutely terrible. Interestingly enough, I did not see this consensus before Jameson (a friend of mine) invited me to see it along with his sister. He had already seen it and had been majorly impressed. In retrospect I suspect that the impression was less to do with the film itself and more with the half naked women and the big guns. 

I went in, waited for the previews to pass, and proceeded to have my mind. . .essentially raped by the sheer beauty and mastery of the opening scene. A combination of extreme close-ups, sweeping pans and a impeccably timed soundtrack told me a story in just visuals and song. 

This sequence yielded background, covered all necessary exposition and provided conflict, as well as foreshadowed the importance of several aspects of the setting, and introduced me main antagonist. 

The first setting of the movie is in the Asylum, our main character is escorted though the bare and ugly halls of the Lennox House. The main antagonist then presents the protagonist and the audience with the the main and only obvious theme of the story: The Theatre.

The theatre is run by a heavily accented Polish psychotherapist, who uses music and the Theatre to attempt to heal her patients. Up to now, everything has been harsh, gross and dully painful. We have been in the realm of the Ego. 

The moment that we are fully on the stage, the scene and setting changes. The main character is now in a brothel run by a mobster, whose clients include the “High Roller” and the very Mayor of the City. Here, the protagonist “Babydoll” is instructed by the psychotherapist turned dance instructor to dance. It is her only means of survival in this world of lust, pain and anxiety. Welcome to Babydoll’s SuperEgo. 

Babydoll gets onto the dance floor, and does nothing. But the point is then made clear to her, dance, or die. She closes her eyes, the music changes, and we step deep inside her Id. The setting is once again different, the snowy, cold and unforgiving courtyard of a Japanese style temple. Here she meets an old man, who prepares her for her journey, and gives her two weapons, a sword and a gun, along with a list of things she will need to escape. An astute viewed can recognize the Animus. 

Here manifest both the greatest and most terrifying aspects of Babydoll’s mind. The Demonic Samurai warriors intent on killing her, but also her skill and power. 

Thus the film continues with its strong visuals and haunting soundtrack, leaping between the terrors of the SuperEgo in the brothel to the fantastical action packed missions in the id, all of them handed down by the Journey Man. 

At this point, the film has three points of tension, in the Asylum, the days before Babydoll is lobotomized is running out, in the brothel, the days before Babydoll is sold to the High Roller are likewise running out, and in the deepest part of her mind, the third setting, each scene is its own mini plot. 

In the end, we have the combination of the three parts of Babydoll’s mind, and with it the solution to the Wise Man’s Mystery “fifth part of the plan” to escape. 

Babydoll has integrated, although we do not see this onscreen, but when the plan is prepared, she, now a complete and fully realized person, willingly sacrifices herself to see the mission through and allow her companion to escape. As she is about to die in the SuperEgo (the Brothel World) we are ripped back to the real world where she is lobotomized. In that second of consciousness the doctor performing the “surgery” sees something in her eyes, her willingness and acceptance of her fate. 

It is not until after Babydoll is no longer a player in the story that we are then allowed to see that what happened in the SuperEgo manifested in the Ego as well. Her actions have transversed her own worlds. 

This is, of course, my own little philosopher/writer interpretation. Even without the background or interpretation, the cinematography, visuals, music, and the combination alone present a very nicely pieced and aesthetically pleasing film. 

 

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