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Who’s all seen Sucker Punch?


Just watched Sucker Punch again and was even more impressed with it. I know it’s controversial movie. I don’t mean that Fox News or Focus on the Family are running stories about how it’s turning kids to sex and drugs or something, but that there’s considerable disagreement among critics and audiences about what it’s about and whether it’s any good. The two questions are closely linked as people who interpret it one way tend to have a much higher opinion of it than people who interpret it other ways. For that matter, people can’t even agree what it’s about on a literal level, much less thematically. Also, is it an exploitation film and is there anything wrong with that? What is the significance of the title?

I intend to write a piece about post-modernism and the difficulty of discussing what a piece of art is about (and the related question of moral assessment). This is really a book topic, so I’ll probably end up writing a lot on the subject, but I intend to start with Sucker Punch. I would recommend you watch the director’s cut, which adds a lot of the material over the theatrical version. Sadly, only the theatrical version is available on the rental disc, so you’ll have to buy it or go somewhere that rents out proper DVDs and Blu-rays instead of getting a price break from the studios to keep discs off the secondary market. I also intend to cover the MPAA’s effect on movie-making at some point.

So I’m looking to hear your thoughts to help me build my article. I have plenty of material from TV Tropes, but as usual for that site, they go some very silly places. On any page about interpretation, you’ll get some superficial takes, some that are well-reasoned and deeper and some speculation about how the whole thing is a crossover with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Death Note.” As amusing as it sometimes gets, it can also be annoying when you are interested in actual literary criticism. i wish that got a separate section. Basically, I already have some takes on the movies, but I’d like to hear some from readers as well. If you read comments on this post and get the movie spoiled, don’t come crying to me.

Edited to add: Here’s Tim Martain with a fairly representative positive review. Here’s MaryAnn Johanson with one of the more entertaining negative reviews. I mostly agree with the former, but the two of them make a good illustration of the disagreement about the movie.

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  1. I was not a huge Sucker Punch fan. It had moments I really enjoyed, and elements I highly appreciated, but I put it in the same category as The Cell – lots of shiny, interesting things to see, not the kind of story that keeps me enraptured, and an overall sense of….disappointment, I think is the best term….when I finished it.

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