‘Sucker Punch' is multilayered fantasy

The film “Sucker Punch” has a dark storyline imbued with Zack Snyder's visual wizardry. It stars Emily Browning as Babydoll, who retreats into her mind to escape her life in an insane asylum.
BY MATTHEW PRICE mprice@opubco.com Modified: March 25, 2011 at 5:25 am •  Published: March 25, 2011

With scenes in a dragon's castle, an alternate World War I with steampunk zombies and anime-inspired battles, director Zack Snyder's “Sucker Punch” takes viewers down the rabbit hole with its heroine, Babydoll (Emily Browning), as she retreats into her mind to escape her life in an insane asylum.

In the screenplay by Snyder and Steve Shibuya, an accident ultimately caused by Babydoll's abusive stepfather has landed her in the asylum, with no family or outside help she can call on. Her stepfather has bribed an orderly (Oscar Isaac) to put her in line for a lobotomy.

Fearing the loss of herself, she begins to plan her escape with other inmates: Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Amber (Jamie Chung). Carla Gugino plays Dr. Vera Gorski, who sympathizes with her charges but isn't able to stop their systemic abuse.

Babydoll retreats into her mind to deal with her situation, which provides the movie's visual panache. She sees her fellow inmates and herself as prisoners in a high-class brothel, performing for the management and their guests. And when she dances, she moves her mind to a third level, a level where she and her allies are warriors on a quest to gain the items needed for their escape.

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