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Sucker Punch

Storytelling as therapy

Zack Snyder’s new movie is premiering. After 300, a male entertainment, & Watchmen, a nerd entertainment, now he makes a movie starring six young girls. If you think of pornography as empowerment, this is for you.

A young girl sent to a mental asylum has to dodge a lobotomy & escape. Mostly she has recourse to deception. Her allies are several other young women, comparably attractive. Women seduce men, they steal their minds, make them forget themselves. In this way, they are supposed to use exploitation against the exploiters, if you pardon the Marxism. The audience of a movie featuring naked women is mostly male. As these girls are the protagonists, they learn from an old man how to succeed.

The action, consequently, is unrealistic, dream-like. But perhaps not unlikable, being flamboyant. But we never see the girl dance whose dancing is supposed to entrance everyone watching her. Instead, we see special forces commandos. – Brutality replaces beauty, which strikes me as unusual. There is a price to pay: Girls start dying left & right. The others panic or turn hysterical. They are not that strong, then; they did not really know what risks they were taking; & they do not seem ready to face harsh facts.

Surely enough, one of the girls is also a traitor, but what did you expect? Call this false consciousness. These girls needed success to survive. What they seem to learn, however, is that sacrifice is also necessary. Perhaps beautiful speeches only conceal, but cannot conquer, ugly reality.

Perhaps this is all very psychoanalytical–talk about what is real & what is imagined, & how mental patients are in control of what they imagine. But to speak more plainly, the way of man is alike to compulsion; the way of women alike to persuasion. Men use force spontaneously; women deception. This story blurs the difference between force & fraud. It likens womanly allure to manly strength. In a way, movies replace things with the images of things, because the images are more attractive, less mortal. This kind of storytelling replaces deeds with speeches. If pretense were all of action – if we only have to seem to be what we want to be – if we only have to say we want what we want – then all our problems would simply be solved. & if wishes were horses…

One of the young girls, the one who survives, has an opening & a closing monologue. She says: You have all the weapons to fight & so should fight. She does not say for what. Probably, you get to decide. But who can you trust to tell you that you are free? Who is going to be responsible if you come to a bad end?

For fans of Zack Snyder