Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch

(M) Warners DVD/BD

Few films this year have generated as much debate as Sucker Punch, which its maker — Watchmen director Zack Snyder — claimed to be an empowering vehicle for its female characters. But plenty of viewers flatly rejected Snyder’s claims, instead shooting down this elaborate fantasia for being misogynistic.

If you thought the deliberate objectification of women in Transformers 3 was off-the-charts, you will be substantially enraged by Sucker Punch’s presentation of “empowered” women.

Set in an alternate version of the 1960s at a bizarre asylum, the wacky story has Baby Doll (Australian actress Emily Browning) and her fellow inmates trying to orchestrate their escape through a series of dangerous daydreams.

Young women fighting giant robots, ninjas and dragons in a highly stylised universe of imagination isn’t what angered many viewers.

Getting their goat was how Snyder had them enter these cartoonish battlegrounds in fetishised outfits (from schoolgirl uniforms, to skimpy French-maid clobber) and the doorway to each gigantic melee was Baby Doll strip-teasing for leering men.

The confusion between fantasy and reality also blurred the line separating women standing up to patriarchal excess and their becoming willing participants within it.

Escape through being sexual playthings?

As occurs in real-life, Sucker Punch’s attempt to liberate women through means which are used to demean and control them doesn’t produce the sexual revolution that Snyder might possibly have been aiming for.

Ben McEachen


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