starring Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Carla Gugino
screenplay by Zack Snyder & Steve Shibuya
directed by Zack Snyder
by Walter Chaw Another exercise in incoherent pomo douchebaggery from Zack "I'm Going to Mess Up Superman, Too" Snyder, Sucker Punch is maybe about female empowerment but works more like Tank Girl with a budget: the flexing girl-muscles and punk/fetish/sneering sexuality aren't fooling anyone. It sports a great soundtrack full of cover songs (everybody from The Pixies to The Eurhythmics gets a trip through the revamp machine) and Björk to comment (cleverly, I guess) on how every idea in the film is ripped off from other flicks as varied as Ghost in the Shell, Hellboy, the Lord of the Rings flicks, Kill Bill, Sin City, and--why not?--Fame. Its chief inspiration seems to be Brazil, sharing with that film Gilliam's giant Samurai thing as well as the fantasy parallel-world and framing conceit. It also borrows Gilliam's penchant for overdoing it and making something that's initially arresting into something that's irritating, cluttered, and ultimately hard to watch. By its third or fourth music-video-length set-piece, I was willing to declare Sucker Punch the winner and curl up in the fetal position. This is cinema as endurance test.