Thursday, March 29, 2012

The What of Where?

I understand. Vermont is a small state, and we've got something of a reputation for being a pleasant place with loads of pretty untouched scenery to look at. Which is somewhat true (most of the pretty trees are second growth after many of the less-productive farms were abandoned post Civil War and WWII). But I've noticed a trend in film where Vermont is portrayed with wild inaccuracy.

I suppose I shouldn't pick on Sucker Punch for accuracy. After all, if I had a Brazil-like psychotic break and imagined the "asylum for the mentally insane" I was imprsoned in was a Moulon Rouge-style dance club/whorehouse, I probably wouldn't imagine that it was in Brattleboro.

However, the film's conceit means that the audience has to believe that this is the mayor of Brattleboro, the population of which has never exceeded 15,000.

Those of us with access to Wikipedia know that Brattleboro doesn't even have a mayor. Like a lot of towns in Vermont, it has a town manager. Not that any of the scriptwriters bothered to look it up.

Is it reasonable to expect psychotic-break girl to understand this? No. Not in a Zack Snyder film, which is all about flashy CG, explosions, and slow-motion shots, and not so much about the research. But if Zack Snyder was expecting me, or apparently audiences in general, to be shocked that the second layer of 'reality' was the 'Sucker Punch' the tag line boasted that we were unprepared for, he thinks audiences are a lot dumber than they are. Brazil prepared me. And a surprising number of people have read Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." If you haven't you can read it here.

Unlike Sucker Punch, the short story is worth your time.

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