Original Soundtrack

Sucker Punch

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The setting for Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch may be a ‘50s mental institution, but the film’s soundtrack feels like it’s straight out of the ‘90s. Not just because the track listing features such alt-rock firebrands as Skunk Anansie, but because its exclusive and previously unreleased tracks hark back to that decade’s heyday of “event” soundtracks. The music chosen for Snyder's film adaptation of Watchmen showed how important music was to his overall vision, and Sucker Punch's soundtrack goes even further, with nearly half of its songs performed by the film’s stars Emily Browning and Carla Gugino. Fittingly for a tale of a girl who fights back against literally losing her mind, most of these songs deal with illusions, perception, and/or kicking butt. Nearly every track here -- whether it’s Browning's take on the Eurythmics' “Sweet Dreams” or Björk's “Army of Me” -- pits female vocals against massive, mechanical instrumentation, underscoring the plight from which the film’s characters must rescue themselves. Emiliana Torrini and Alison Mosshart contribute covers of two gems from the psychedelic ‘60s, another example of this project’s era-mashing: Torrini shimmers on an expansive reworking of Jefferson Airplane's “White Rabbit,” while Alison Mosshart of the Kills and the Dead Weather is a lysergic goddess on her version of the Beatles' “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Gugino and Oscar Isaac turn in an over the top performance of Roxy Music's “Love Is the Drug” that suggests that the film has as much in common with Moulin Rouge as it does with Watchmen. However, it’s Browning who delivers the soundtrack’s most affecting performances, injecting the Pixies' ode to blankness “Where Is My Mind?” with poignancy and “Asleep” with a delicacy that is even more welcome in contrast to the rest of the album’s extremes. Sucker Punch's only true stumble is a mash-up of Queen's “I Want It All” and “We Will Rock You” interspersed with a rap by Armageddon, which is an unwelcome reminder of the rap-rock that overtook the second half of the ‘90s. Sucker Punch is elaborate and sometimes overwrought, but it’s absolutely true to the film’s aesthetic.

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