Richard Roeper reviews Sucker Punch starring Emily Browning and Abbie Cornish
I certainly understand how the film would be very polarizing to audiences. I found Sucker Punch to be good, stupid fun where you shouldn't go in unless you're prepared to just enjoy the amazing visual spectacle (which really is amazing). Leave your pretentious, uptight friends at home. But it's anything but "indecipherable." It's kind of a video game or series of music videos with a thin plot to justify these multiple weird fantasy action sequences.
But Roeper seems to suggest these action scenes are all really taking place in some alternate universes, that these girls in the asylum are all supposed to be this beautiful in reality, and that their acting and dialogue in these fantasies isn't supposed to be over the top and ridiculous. All these notions are completely wrong. These aren't supposed to be literal alternate universes but just Babydoll's escapist fantasies to avoid her harsh reality and where we're led to believe some far less glamorous version of these adventures was really taking place in the one and only true reality of the film, the one where she's in the asylum. It's like Inception with 3 layers of reality, 2 of which are fantasies that we're to understand somehow do mirror some of what's happening off screen in the one true reality at the asylum. I thought it was very clear that these sequences weren't real from the very beginning. Also, the soundtrack was really great. I loved their unique take on songs we all know. Roeper just doesn't seem to be the right audience for this.
Review Rating: 0
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Personally I would like to think Roeper, understood they were fantasies. However I don't think he finished the movie to understand that the "Strip club/***** House" was in fact a fantasy.
Roeper stated "After she is framed for murder Baby Doll is hauled away to Lennox House, it’s a hall of horrors for the criminally insane but it is really a front for a strip club slash ***** house."
To me this shows that he actually believed the brothel sequences were part of the "reality" instead of 2 layers of fantasy (which you so accurately compared to Inception (2010)).
The final sequences of the film, when Baby Doll is on her way to get a lobotomy explicitly narrate how the brothel sequences were fantasies.
I would hope that Roeper watch the films in entirety, before making such harsh reviews. I will admit I was not a fan of the film, but I also watched the whole thing, and feel Roeper's view is very misguided.
I also find it interesting that so many American critics never look at this film, beyond their ethnocentric frame. This film as many qualities of Japanese films and superflat art that Roeper seems to turn a blind eye too.
We need a higher class of critic.
I'm sorry Roeper this was the last bad review I could take from you. Please start to finish the films if you claim to be such a prestigious film critic. (I cant believe I just had to say please, and ask someone to to his job.)
Dear Richard Roeper:
I can appreciate the simplicity of your review, in wanting to avoid spoilers; and to preface my response, I will admit that as I left the theater, I felt just as disappointed, even angry, as you appear to be, and for a while, I too blamed it on the apparent indecipherability and chaos of this film.
But I've had a little time to think about what I actually saw, and I've drawn a completely different, and less enthusiastically negative conclusion about this film.
I think the correct word to describe this film is "Inappropriate" -- not socially inappropriate -- but elementally incompatible. The story itself would have been APPROPRIATE for another take on One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, with sympathetic characters, profound sadness, and overwhelming depression on the part of the audience, while making use of a more serious/credible/talented cast. And the style and action would have been APPROPRIATE for a more light-hearted story, with some sort of redemption or justice, akin to The Spirit or Watchmen.
The story is very beautiful, yet profoundly sad. The style and action are wondrous to behold, both creative and entertaining. The problem is not that it's a bad movie, but that these elements don't belong together.
I will give you enough credit to assume that you weren't as "confused" as you reported to be. At the beginning of the movie, the director went well out of his way to explain that the main character was about to regress, and pretend to be in a more elaborate and glamorous world, in order to cope with the terror of being in a dark, dirty, dangerous place. Clearly there was no Prostitute Ring, with high-profile guests who came to admire exotic dancers. There wasn't even any exotic dancing. Just as the action scenes embellished the somewhat less energetic tasks presented to the girls, so too did the illusion of dancing prostitutes somehow ease the shock of this young woman in being mentally and physically abused, assaulted, even raped by corrupt orderlies who have no desire to "help" their patients. The "dancing" was nothing more than just being cooperative when they were being taken advantage of, or perhaps encouraging such encounters in order to create a distraction. To be clear, almost the entire movie was a pleasant delusion that is just close enough to reality that you can infer what is going on without actually seeing any of the real literal events taking place in the movie.
Where does this leave us? We have a serious film that is being presented to us incorrectly or perhaps dishonestly, complete with mediocre acting, dialogue, and music, and inappropriately glossy and stupefying style and action. Why? So that for 1 hour and 50 minutes, we will be expecting one thing, only to be knocked on our asses by the "Sucker Punch", when we realize just how profoundly upsetting, unjust, and depressing this movie really is. This wasn't a cliche. The title of the movie literally refers to the audience's reaction to the Lobotomy, and the realization that they were not watching the movie they thought they were watching.
Now that I've realized this, I actually want to watch the movie a second to see how the plot unfolds under this new light ---- that is, I would want to watch it again if the actors, acting, dialogue, and music, didn't suck.
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