First off let me say that this is not a review of the movie. I did not go to see it because of the story. I’m a huge sci-fi/fantasy/comic book nerd and I only wanted to see the fighting, the monsters and the style the movie was shot in. It’s my thoughts on the movie’s themes based on my own perspective. Let me also say that if you go to this movie expecting great writing and acting…HA! Oh, and I’ll add that my love of comic books, video games etc. prepared me for girls kicking ass in skimpy outfits. What I’m going to talk about is the basis of the movie and the way the characters handle their situation.
I think it’s good to mention that if someone was thinking about seeing this movie but they’re not clear on what it’s about, they should know that it deals with the death of a parent, the attempted rape by a stepfather, being put in an insane asylum and more attempted abuse by the employees there. It doesn’t actually show anything (it’s more like something almost happens but then the person is saved at the last second) but it may still freak someone out. There are absolutely things in there that could trigger people, like cigar smoke and other things. Because I’m discussing the movie elements there will be spoilers. If you don’t care read on.
I’ll try to make the premise of the movie simple or as simple as I can. The main character is a girl later referred to as “Babydoll” her alter-ego (to me her name could be a trigger for some people). Her mother dies leaving her and her younger sister in the care of their evil stepfather. In the beginning it seemed like he was going to assault the main character (I don’t want to use her name too much in case it bothers someone) but, in the last moment, and this freaked me out, he decides to go for her younger sister. I was wigging out inside my head hoping that the director wouldn’t actually go there. He didn’t, she stops him but she accidentally shoots her sister. The stepfather then has her put in an insane asylum and she is scheduled to be lobotomized in five days. Of course everyone who works there is evil except for the “therapist” who uses this common area called the “Theatre” to help the patients deal with their issues. Ha! It’s all very dark etc. She wants to escape and that’s the theme of the movie, escaping and taking back your life by fighting, whether it’s real fighting or metaphorical. I’ll get into that part at the end. This is where the DID/dissociative thing comes into play. The movie is based on there being three worlds, one real world and two realities in her head: the real world aka the asylum, a sub-world which is a brothel in her imagination that represents the asylum and the third world, a dream world where she and several other female inmates wear sexy outfits and fight various creatures with swords and guns. I’m a girl gamer so I get the video game aspect of that and of course it’s supposed to be about battling your inner demons. Ok, so that’s the dissociation part because the heroine (I use the term loosely which I will discuss at the end) uses dissociation to escape what’s happening in the asylum, the real world. She has this “quest” to get items that will allow her and the other girls to escape the asylum/brothel and we see the quest also take place in the other realities. Basically when something bad happens in the real world, she closes her eyes and ends up in the sub-world, then when something stressful or bad happens in the sub-world she closes her eyes and retreats further going into the 3rd world, the dream world where they all fight the mythical creatures.
This post is going to sound weird now because I got called away while writing it and I’ve slightly lost my vibe. 🙂 Anyway, there were several aspects that the director (Zack Snyder who did Dawn Of the Dead and 300) used to show what she was feeling or how she was distancing herself. In the real world, she’s an inmate at the asylum, in the 2nd world, the sub-world, the girls are forced to dance for men who come to visit the brothel. The “brothel” is run by a man who looks like the gross orderly from the real world. The female therapist in the real world, now becomes the woman who teaches the girls how to “survive” by dancing. The main character ends up having the ability to mesmerize men with her eyes or her dancing or something so that the other girls can get the items they need to escape while everyone’s distracted by her performance. So, she ends up using her sexuality to distract men by dancing for them. I’m not sure what the director meant by that aspect. Every time she has to dance in the sub-world, she retreats into the 3rd dream world and fights monsters. Without getting into too much, she and another girl make it to the gates of the “brothel”. Earlier in the movie she had been told that there was a mystery item she would need to find in order to escape. She figures out that the mystery item is her and the other girl gets away. Ok, so now the movie returns to the real world, and we find out that she really did help someone escape the asylum. And then… we see her get lobotomized, old-school style. Basically a small hammer and a spike. Ouch and yuck. This is PG-13 so they don’t show it from the front. Imagine my surprise that this was the ending. Yes, the gross orderly who was about to assault her after (yes after) her lobotomy is stopped and gets arrested. That part freaked me out. He said some stuff to her about her not being allowed to “go away” mentally while he was there…creeped me out. BUT, we find out that she’s happy because she escaped…by being lobotomized…. Huh. So that’s the ideal way to escape a life of abuse and mental problems? And she’s supposed to be the hero???? This movie was touted to be about strong women kicking ass and fighting back so they can be free. Seriously? A lobotomy? Really? I thought that whatever “strength” she had during the movie was completely nullified by this ending. The doctor who performs the lobotomy says that at the last moment she looked at him like she wanted him to do it and we see a shot of her face all peaceful and happy-like. I was peeved. If they wanted to take her out at the end of the movie, they should have had her blow up the asylum.
I didn’t actually write this post to do a commentary on the movie, I just felt like putting the story out there because we actually deal with the reality of abuse and dissociation and I felt…I honestly don’t know how I feel about the movie as far as that stuff goes. It wasn’t meant to be deep and believe me it’s not. The acting is hideous and the dialogue is painful. I guess I was more interested in posting about the handling of this kind of stuff by directors or hollywood or whatever. Ok, I guess I don’t know why I wrote this post after all lol! I don’t know, what do you guys think?