Dallas Movie Screening

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Sucker Punch

Going into this movie, I had no information. I didn't hear any of the hype, I barely paid attention to the trailer (To be fair, I was distracted.) and I almost arrived late because I am inept at navigation. But somehow I made it and observed that the line was stirring, people talking amongst themselves about how "arty" the film would be. It was directed by Zack Snyder, I overheard. He did 300 and The Watchmen, the long line was emanating a palpable anticipation.  I was sure the aggregate cinematic would be impressive based off the little I gleaned before getting my wristband and popcorn. I recalled the stunning visual of Spartans killing an overwhelming Persian force as I found my seat. I pondered critically Dr. Manhattans junk as I fixed my eyes on the screen.

The lights went down.

Enter 1950s, A dark and dreamy landscape set to somber, desperate music and despair. Tim Burton would have been proud as the foreboding gravitas gives way to the story of a girl (Emily Browning) and the perils she must overcome. She shines like a fallen angel, strong and vulnerable, blond and pink against the black and blue backdrop. The turmoil culminating in her institution, in a time when crazy was locked away and misunderstood, where lobotomy was considered a necessary step and curative process.  During this, Emily's face remains as porcelain, camera fixated on an emotionless caricature. She was like a doll.

Then colors and all the world had changed. Faces, the same yet different, took a trip through the looking glass. All burlesque and brothel now, women and girls and the show taking center stage for another dark twist. Her name is Baby Doll (Emily) and her previous venerability is now twisted sexual. Around her is a crew cast scantily clad. The leader Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), her sister Rocket (Jena Malone), the ironically named Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens<3) and Amber are all "performers" here and are all insane there. Lead by the doctor/Madam Vera Gorski (Carla Gugino) and Held captive by Pimp/doctor Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac) they are an attraction that our pure, sweet Baby Doll is forced to be a part of when she is made to dance.

And just when the movie was good, it got EPIC. A pagoda in winter as snow falls, a school-girls outfit, a katana, a silver handgun and three giant samurai warriors stand it the way. When the wise man (Scott Glen) says "defend yourself" Baby doll listens and dances. From that point on every dance is battle of bullet-time, badassery and sexuality as Baby is pitted against the impossible. It is a feast of visual effect, a cinematic orgy of amazing fight sequences and daring heroics.

And then, before long it becomes the sexy mundane again, or does it?

Sucker Punch is really just as the name implies, it hits you when you least expect it. It tells a very peculiar story through various settings and conditions. The visualization are the fluid and conduit, flowing and bridging the gap between the video game-like universe and a bleak terrestrial realm. The story is a medley of jilting and fantastic sojourns with a powerful darkness and spark of human resolve at its core. It plays to the  combined love that I have for the years of hard-core video gaming that I spent accomplishing and the deep and profound love that I have for looking at attractive women, to which I have had ever since they stopped chasing me in my prepubescent days.  Its because of these glorious fantasy worlds (and the ensemble cast of girls in their underwear) that I find myself wondering; is reality really all that its cracked up to be?
(Review by Quinn Cruz-Hawkins)

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