Sucker Punch was always going to be one of 2011′s most controversial and divisive films – a film whose trailers were simultaneously astonishing, breathtaking and enticing as we saw Emily Browning lead a quintet of ferocious female warriors through a dazzling array of worlds that featured Nazis, bombs and dragons whilst also incorporating song-and-dance numbers, gorgeous visuals and everything adolescent fantasy under the sun.
Unfortunately a lot of the film’s criticisms came from the fact that it was, for a supposedly feminist film, somewhat misogynistic in the way that the women were dressed and acted as sexualised ‘dolls’ for the leering men of the audience to gape at. It wasn’t a box office or critical smash which is a shame given how much work went into the film and how, at least visually, it’s a dream to watch, particularly in the enthralling action sequences. People saw it as the poor cousin to Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ with boobs, miniskirts and robots, basically.
I can honestly understand every criticism levelled at the film – it’s over-ambiguous and the fact that the three levels of the film don’t sync up properly is something that should have been reconcilled in production. I personally agree with the costuming complaints – while all the girls do look radiant and gorgeous, there’s no real sufficient need for them to be sporting battle gear that looks like it came from a police raid from a sex shop. Plus it’s far from protective but that’s just me quibbling.
However, many other film critics and film theorists have considered alternate interpretations and meanings to sucker punch – is the film an allegory for Hollywood? Is it about mental experimentation and the mysterious ‘monarch mind control’ urban legends? Quite simply, we just don’t know – writer and director Zack Synder has remained deliberately ambiguous with regards to any hidden meanings with the film, but after a rewatching of the film, I thought I’d give my own theory an airing, if only to find put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Henceforth, please regard that everything said after here is a theory, pure and simple.
For me, Sucker Punch is secretly a film about recovery from a mental trauma. And what follows are the four areas that prove as much…
This article was first posted on February 3, 2013