Mind-Bending Mirror Scene from the Movie “Sucker Punch”

If you liked the the “impossible shot” from the film Contact that we shared earlier this week, you’ll enjoy this clip as well. It’s a shot from the film Sucker Punch that uses some clever camera work and trickery rather than CGI to create its mind-bending effect. Interestingly enough, both this clip and the Contact one feature actress Jena Malone (albeit at different ages).

Thanks for the tips PupaChrysalis and traeger23!

  • Astonfreak

    I think there are 4 people in this shot, 2 actors with tekst and 2 actors who imitate the other actor.

  • Curtis Townson

    Cool effect, but there are several moments where the foreground and reflection clearly do not match up. Timing of some movements are slightly off, making it hard to un-see.

  • Serge Khm

    Black magic! Burn the girl!
    But seriously… how… o.O Seen the movie and never realized/thought of this shot…

  • Contact

    Shot several times with motion track robot so it moves the same speed over and over, just actors need to rehearse perfectly their movements in normal and mirrored.

  • Tam Nguyen Photography

    they slipped up at 0:46 when the girl raised her hand. it’s not a mirror.

  • Patric Franksson

    That’s cool, but not mind bending.. obviously when the camera goes around the mirrors (which seems to be on a wall in the next scene) it just avoids to be visible in the one-way-mirrors.

    Cool though! CGI is for sissys! ;)

  • Dave Shultz

    Shot with green screen in the mirror and only the back of the girls showing.  Reshot with the girls on the back side of the mirror only.  Great shot and very creative.  

  • Michael Zhang

    My theory is that in the first half of the scene (“behind” the mirror), we’re actually seeing the backs of doubles through empty mirror frames — not the actresses themselves. They try and mimic the movements of the actual actresses. Then, when the camera goes around the mirror, I think people step in and put actual mirrors in the frames before they appear on camera

  • sheckie

    Exactly how i viewed it. You could tell in the first half that the movements weren’t dead-on synced. You could also tell that there were real mirrors in the second half because the camera was never facing itself in the mirror like it was in the first half. Pretty cool stuff. 


    there is no reclection in mirror it’s cool



  • Redditor

    Petapixel is like Reddit for photo geeks, except one dictator submits all the links and gets all the karma. 

  • Guest

     i assume its some sort of one-way mirror so that they didn’t have to change anything while the camera was moving around. although i wonder how they’ve done it as one-way mirrors require one side to be dark (in this scene: the side the camera was on for the first part of the scene)

  • Adam Heiden

    It’s a two way mirror, the actors side is reflective, the doubles side is see through.

  • Dean

    There’s a deleted scene from Terminator 2 that employed the exact same technique. Arnold’s head in the “mirror” image was just a puppet whilst Linda Hamilton had her identical twin (Leslie Hamilton Gearren) mirroring her movements. Check it out:

  • Osman Zeki

    There is a similar scene in La Haine. Great movie too. 

  • Elizabeth H. Crane

    But it is only possible if you can put the optics closer..

  • mugget man

    Curses! I didn’t even notice that before I read your comment, my mind mustn’t have even been looking for it because I just saw it as a reflection. Now I’m going to see it every time damn you! 

  • Amy

    Similar scene in Mr Nobody too, but in that, the camera travels through the ‘mirror’ aswell.

  • Armando Zapata

    Jena Malone is so beautiful =]
    This is pretty easy as all these actresses have twins, evil twins actually, and they moved unsynched a bit so you could notice it was a trick.
    Burn the evil twins!

  • Walt

    There is a moment as the camera goes around the edge where you can’t see either girl. So, it seems like the simplest way to do it is just to do the scene twice with the exact same computer controlled camera motion. Have the girls do the scene once on each side, and then edit the takes together. Very cool “brain bomb,” since you don’t catch it till you think about it. :-)