Saturday, July 2, 2011

Movie Review: "Sucker Punch" Viewed Queerly

Femme Slash Alert!

Sucker Punch (2011, Warner Bros)

Alright, so the lesbian/bisexual/queer movie pickings are slim at best. But the subtext abounds! And until, my own awesome queer-centric film comes out (whenever that will be), then I can’t complain, and like a vegetarian vampire, I will have to survive on subtext for a while.

The subtext is basically shouted from the rooftops and heralded from the towers in Zack Synder’s action-esque female-centric film, Sucker Punch, starring Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish, Jamie Chung, and Jena Malone. Obviously, this is not a plug for the film, but it is available on DVD now, so check it out!

The film’s cast is a promising group of young, attractive females, which is probably the reason I agreed to see this film in the first place. I had absolutely no preconceptions about the film, it just happened to be a random date night movie. Firstly, this movie’s tagline was spot on with the reality of your viewing experience.

You will be Unprepared.

Unprepared, I was.

Coming from the director of 300 and Watchmen, the visuals and graphics were just as beautiful and aesthetic as one would expect. The cinematography was beautiful and the special effects worked well within the story. Now for the homerun, the Story.

Beautifully written and executed, the movie flickers between three distinct verses to tell one story, and all of the verses get the story told, even if you as the viewer are denied actually seeing what has happened while you were transported into the dream aspects of the verse. Layered like a perfectly frosted cake, lies the Asylum, the Brothel and the Dream verses which all interact to tell the tale of these four disturbed young women as they battle for their lives, sanity and freedom.

The story line is brilliant, by my standards. The movie is completely entertaining.
And now, the fun part. A cast of all 20-ish good looking females means there has to be some pretty prevalent subtext right? Right!

Main protagonist, Baby Doll (Emily Browning) is quite obviously enamored with the fiery, independent Rocket (Jena Malone). Rocket alone gets major queer points for her awesomely done coif which elicits images of Japanese anime and video game characters (cosplayers, it can be done!). The touches last just a second too long. The words unsaid are screaming in their eyes! But then, enter Rocket’s holier-than-thou older sister Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) and suddenly, when you squint with your queer-tinted spectacles, you can just barely make out a love triangle, just waiting to happen. Watch the movie, and tell me you don’t see it??

Well, at the very least, and at its very core, is a message of empowerment, specifically of the feminine variety. These women are placed in a situation that they have very little physical control over, but they manage to find the inner strength to overcome their surroundings. It sends the message that you are prisoner of a hell you create. You’re true strength is in your mind and within your ability to challenge reality. We are the weapons of our own salvation.

Anyone hear the Queer Bells ringing?

Ok, maybe this is just an excuse to see sexily clad females kick some ass, in amazing costumes, with big guns.

But you know what? I am more than okay with that.

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