By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood March 25, 2011 at 1:29AM
I must say that I found the film Sucker Punch to be very confusing. I had no idea what it was about except that it was clear that young women were in peril, stuck in a mental institution or brothel. (I couldn't tell the dream sequences from the real sequences -- if anything was real -- since there were many levels and not a good kind of levels like there were in Inception.)
I sat staring at the screen for the first 30 minutes in a state of perplexed anxiety at the bizarro action sequences that these women took part in. The plot is not worthy of discussion because there was none. I feel like it was basically a pitch that was never written because the writing was dreadful, like so bad that it would be laughable, if it were funny. I imagine the pitch went something like -- we're going to do an action adventure fantasy where girls are held captive and have to fight their way out of captivity in little dresses, high heels and leotards. It will attract both young women because the girls kick ass, and young men because the girls kicks ass in hardly any clothes.
Once the movie was thirty minutes along and I was a prisoner in my middle seat with entranced dudes around me I allowed my mind to wander in order to stave off the loss of IQ points. The one thought that kept coming into my mind was, what the hell is Abbie Cornish doing in this film?
This is not the type of film she usually makes or better yet, what she should be making. She is beyond talented and while she was the most interesting piece in the horrible experience of Sucker Punch she was not able to elevate it, it brought her down. Now I know that she has got to be under pressure from her "people" to make commercial movies. I can only imagine the conversations. "Abbie, you have a small window here to make some movies as an "ingenue." You need to take advantage of it. So them you can be sexy. Show them you are not so serious. Show them you can be commercial. Once people get to know your name, know that you can do more than artsy films, you'll be able to make some money and then come back to the artsy films." I can only imagine that this is the reason why she made this film and Limitless. It couldn't have been for the script. Could this script have been anywhere near the script of say Bright Star? I don't think I am going out on a limb by saying, no way.
But I have to say that this film was a serious miscalculation on all their parts because it just sucks. What good does being in a sucky movie that will get horrible reviews do for a young actress like Cornish. I just don't see the upside. It can't be the pay day because I am sure that none of the young women in the film were paid anything decent. This is an effects movie made for guys who just want to see scantily clad young women kick mysterious monsters asses.
This film is a perfect example of Susan Douglas' theory called "Enlightened Sexism." A movie that shows young women kicking butt which is supposedly empowering to women when in reality the whole film is not about empowering women at all, it's about making women sex objects. Let's remember that just because women carry guns in a movie and fly helicopters and can fight with a sword does not mean that the movie is feminist. This is very important. There is nothing feminist about this movie. This is not what we are fighting for.