I saw Sucker Punch over the weekend in IMAX. I really enjoyed it though getting into the layers of the movie was a strange adjustment. I remember while watching Inception how convenient it was that characters would explain the whole dream layers concepts so mechanically. Like, oh that answers the question about how we only wake up one level at a time. Obviously, it didn’t make any sense.
In Sucker Punch, Zach Snyder just skips the explanations entirely. The trailers and the press release try to play up the “fantasy world” of Babydoll (the protagonist). But that does the whole movie a disservice. Like Inception, it’s about layers of reality and the escape from the uppermost layer. In the “fantasy” sequences, I didn’t see it as the girl’s imagination running wild but an elaborate metaphor for what she was dealing with in real life. The pain in her real life was converted into a literal war inside her. To make it even more interesting, in between the war and reality is another layer — the glossy image the girls in Lennox House have of their surroundings.
Because Snyder just drops you right into the scene, my brain spent a little while wondering if all this would be explained in some tidy way (“Oh the drugs make her hallucinate” or something). Thankfully, it is not. You just get to sit there and absorb the crazy visuals and work it all out for yourself. That makes it more rewarding.