After weeks of watching cast interviews, directors' interviews and being teased on G4 by trailers for Suckerpunch, we went to see it on the big screen on Sunday night.
Let me begin by saying the special effects were amazing. It was a breathless, edge-of-your-seat ride.
But I was almost in tears at the end. It ends SO SADLY, and it twists in such a way that you are left feeling like someone literally suckerpunched you!
The film takes places in what I percieve to be around the late 40's, perhaps the early 50's, when mental institutions were horrible, frightening places where horror movies take place and lobotomies were perfectly acceptable forms of treatment for those perceived to be a violent danger to themselves or others.
Babydoll (Emily Browning) is placed in a mental hospital by her evil stepfather, after the death of her mother leads to a tragic accident. He makes a deal with the head orderly to have Babydoll lobotomized so that she'll never be able to tell her side of the story, or be able to claim her inheritance. It's 5 days before the doctor who performs the lobotomy (Jon Hamm) can be there, and that's where the movie takes off. Just before receiving the lobotomy, you get a peek into Babydoll's imagination, where she teams up with 4 other patients and attempts to escape.
The film takes place in 3 different mindsets - the hospital, Babydoll's imagination - wherein she and the 4 other patients are dancers in a brothel, trying desperately to escape, and a fantasy world that combines themes of Japanese anime, steampunk and MMA. It's a little confusing to put into words, but when you see it in the film, it becomes a little clearer.
At the brothel, Babydoll becomes the center of attention when she is set aside for the 'high roller' (also played by Jon Hamm) who arrives in 5 days to claim her as his special pet, so to speak. She is determined to escape before then and convinces Rocket (Jena Malone), and her older sister Sweet Pea (Abby Cornish), Amber (Jamie Chung) and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) to join her in her plan of escape, which was shown to her during one of her dreamscapes by the man I will refer to henceforth as the 'guardian angel' (Scott Glenn). They must retrieve 4 items - a map, fire, a knife and a key. There is a 5th item, but it is a mystery that will be revealed at the end. And so they begin their escape, each one retrieving their piece of the plan, and entering the dreamworld, where they battle monsters and villians to succeed.
But as I said, the ending twists very suddenly and is quite devastating after you've watched the girls get so far and have become attached to them.
I give it a solid B. It didn't end in the way I had hoped it would, and for me (someone who rolls movies around in my head for days afterward) I needed a bit of closure or at least a bit of a happy ending. Instead, I got..... suckerpunched. :)
And Emily Browning is absolutely gorgeous.