Lit React ~ Analysis & reactions on works of fiction.

06 Jan 2012

(Movie - 2011) Sucker Punch, directed by: Zack Snyder

(Reaction) Numb Pain, Complete Survival by: Patrick Shane Diaz

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Sucker Punch is a movie centered on the theme of survival, to be free from what is hurting you, restricting you. Babydoll is a girl, sent to a mental facility by her stepfather, to get a lobotomy for his own monetary gain by using the excuse that she killed her younger sister. Trying to fight the event to come, she fights for survival by trying to escape.

The story uses the dimensional perspective type of storytelling, wherein there are different dimensions, all parallel, portraying the same story, yet given different treatments. Such settings include the mental facility which portrays reality, the brothel, that portrays the sentiment or emotion felt through the captivity, and the different missions spanned in a chronological timeline from past to future settings.

The change of setting from a mental facility to a brothel portrays the way Babydoll sees her stay in the mental institution. She feels like a whore trapped in a place controlled by the owner, who owns them and makes them do something they abhor. It is a place of captivity. For escaping this, she would need 5 things, a map, fire, a knife, a key, and a secret thing.

To obtain these objects, Babydoll comes up with a plan of survival by going along with the rules of the facility and the needs of the warden, or whorehouse and the owner in alternate dimension. Her trances where she goes into whenever she is asked to burlesque, portrays her want/need to survive, wherein she obtains an item through heavy fighting, risking her life.

Babydoll is given a timeline, 5 days until the doctor who will lobotomize her arrives. In her fantasy, she sees the doctor as the highroller, pertaining to the person who will purchase her virginity. The way her virginity and her consciousness and sanity is paralleled is somewhat of an odd comparison. However, it is seen as an apt comparison given the fact that viewers grasp the concept of Babydoll's value to it. The symbolism is adept at showing that both her sanity and virginity, though valued and longed to be kept, lose their value once broken and lost.

The characters in the story, those who help her escape (Rocket, Sweet Pea, Blondie, and Amber), and the doctor/dance instructor, are all portrayed as her means to her end: escape. The 5 items are all obvious metaphors to achieving the goal. A map to success, inner fire/desire to pursue the goal, tools of the trade (knife), a key that opens any door/opportunity, and the person itself, personality, character, etc.

Though somewhat cheesy and requiring deeper thought, these metaphors serve as the underlying moral of the film, giving a cause to the risk of obtaining these items. Obtaining these items is the main plot of the film, since their possession would control the outcome of the film.

The twist in the end is a perfect way to show the theme of the story. Survival is relative to how we see it. Babydoll let Sweet Pea go in her place so as to make her survive. By doing so, and learning to accept her fate, Babydoll achieved her end goal, to survive, by going through the lobotomy to forget what happened. She was able to survive herself, and her inner demons. She was able to give Sweet Pea gain freedom, having realized that she may be outside and free, yet a captive to her past. In doing what she did, Babydoll achieved her own freedom, that of her memories.


Getting the memories removed and feeling nothing ensures total survival and freedom from one's self... as a vegetable.

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