Director: Rian Johnson
Stars: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt
Year Released: 2012
Looper is both an extremely well written and wonderfully directed movie revolving around murder and time travel that explores the ideas of salvation, redemption, and tragic choices that have to be made, in ways that are rarely attempted and almost never realized in such a dramatic and visual fashion.
The movies begins with beautifully crafted visual and spoken exposition. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) takes us on a tour of what the world has become, 32 years in the future. Organized crime has become a larger problem for the public and advances (that are never really explained) in technology make murder in the future more difficult to get away with. Time traveling exists, but is outlawed and therefore something controlled by criminal organizations. The introduction takes us through city scenes that show us what the future is like without Joe having to spell it out for us. Sure, a lot of details are loss this way (one thing that I am curious about is the capture of vehicle exhaust that seems to feed directly back into the fuel tank, and the solar cells fixed to hoods and side panels) but it does not detract from the movie at all, I feel that it actually enhances the story telling because it makes you wonder a little what has occurred in the 32 years to get us to this point.
It isn’t a secret that Bruce Willis is the Joe of the future, not only is it not a secret it isn’t even the most mind bending thing to happen in this movie. Time travel has been done, over and over and over, and while Looper doesn’t really introduce an aspect of time travel that hasn’t been done already, it does use time travel as a device to create incredible conflict in almost every major character in the movie.
It should be noted that Jeff Bridges has a pretty cool role in the movie, he plays the only guy known (or at least explained in the movie) to have come from the future and not be killed. He runs the Loopers in the city that the movie takes place in. Kind of like a mafia boss, but not exactly. It was fun to see him in the role, I think it suited his diverse acting ability well.
As for the story line; all I can say is “WOW!”, I was impressed with the coherent story telling, the continuity of the story, the basis in reality and the fact that they never even attempt to explain how the time traveling works (because it doesn’t fucking matter, we never care about the specifics of time travel in fiction, visual or otherwise). The movie focuses on the story telling, the character development and the conflict between those characters and because of that it is an incredible success. Each character has a personality and varying levels of depth, even if that depth isn’t fully explored in the too short movie.
I am not sure exactly what they did to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s face, but it was obvious that they tried to bridge the gap between his look and that of Bruce Willis, and they largely succeed. Where the transition between the two actors fails is JGL’s walking style, Bruce Willis cannot emulate it even though it seems that he tries.
The acting was fantastic all around, which isn’t really surprising but certainly worth noting. Futuristic time traveling movies have ruined reputations for actors in the past and if not properly executed (pun intended) that could have happened here. I think the performance that amazed me the most was that of Sid (Pierce Gagnon), the child that becomes the focus of the movie later on in the story. I can’t really get into why he impressed me so much, but for a kid with almost no real movie acting experience he did an amazing job.
For a movie about a guy that kills people from the future to collect bars of silver to support his drug habit that ends up not killing his future self and becomes hunted by the men that hired him to be a Looper which sends him into a cane field so that he can live long enough to hunt the future him down so that he can cash in and run away to France, which ends up becoming China instead and then falling in love and…well I guess you have to see the movie to really get it all. Let’s just say that this movie packs a lot into a small space but certainly leaves you wanting more and at the same time saying “What the fuck just happened?”, in a very good way.
I do not want to see a sequel, but I want to see more of this world, graphic novel maybe? Even an RPG would do really well in the world of Loopers. Something has to come of this.