Directed By: Zac Snyder
Written By: Zac Snyder and Steve Shibuya
Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Jon Hamm, and Scott Glenn
Director of Photography: Larry Fong, Editor: William Hoy, Production Designer: Rick Carter, Original Music: Tyler Bates and Marius De Vries
Rated: PG-13, for a mixture of sci-fi, war, and period violence, mixed in with some sexual suggestions, but no actual sex.
Zac Snyder is what I would call an iconic director. Not that his films are iconic masterpieces or cherished works of filmmaking that will go down in history, but his shots are designed to be viewed as iconic. With a combination of slow motion, intense close-ups, and high contrast production design, everything in Mr. Snyder’s vision is meant to say, “Look at this and remember how cool it was.” This came easy to the director for his adaptations of the graphic novels 300 and Watchmen, where Mr. Snyder could simply rip the frames from the comic and put it on to stage. But in doing those, Mr. Snyder lost the heart of the story, especially in the densely packed Watchmen (His first film, the frenetic and humorous Dawn of the Dead remake remains his best work).
But how does he fare with an original script, perhaps one that comes with a unique and perhaps challenging premise for the director? That’s what we have in Sucker Punch, a visual mess of fury and fanboyism, wrapped in an attempt to speak about the power of storytelling and dreams. A bloated and ambitious disaster, Sucker Punch is nonetheless fascinating in the discussions it could spark about female exploitation and misogyny, and whether those orc samurai and German zombies have any relevance in the story. Mr. Snyder has probably reached to the highest potential here in both his filmmaking as well as his storytelling ability, and it’s unique that we get to see a director fall as hard as he does here. But watching how he falls is what makes this film so damn interesting.