Friday, October 19, 2012

Movie Review: Looper

Well, that was unexpected. I loved director Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's previous collaboration, on Johnson's 2005 film Brick, so I had high hopes for their new project Looper...but I still wasn't prepared for what they actually delivered.

Looper has been hyped as a sci-fi, gangster film but it's really much more than that. Although we've been led to believe the movie is about a hitman trying to kill an older, time traveling version of himself, like the Wu-Tang Clan of old, Looper is actually all about da' children.

hello me, meet the real me
The film takes place in 2044. In this bleak Blade Runner-ish future, the cities are filthy and crime ridden, poverty and lawlessness are facts of life, and a small percentage of the population even has freaky mutant powers (parlor tricks, not X-MEN level...). In 2074, time travel is invented and mobsters from the future send people they want killed 30 years into the past, where a handy dandy hitman (a "looper") blows them to kingdom come. Well, Joseph Gordon Levitt's character Joe is living the looper life in the fast lane to the fullest (money, drugs, call girls) until one of his targets gets the drop on him and escapes. This is frowned upon, because dudes from the future running around in the past can have dire consequences on the space time continuum...especially when that dude is a pissed off older version of yourself  (Bruce Willis).

So that's the plot. It's cool but you're not supposed to take it too seriously. Willis even warns Levitt (i.e. himself!) not to think too much about all the time travel mumbo jumbo or it'll drive you nuts. What you do need to focus on is the human aspect of the film. Winning hearts, minds and children. Yes for all the violence, geeky sci-fi elements and Piper Parabo getting naked, Looper is really a family film. I can't explain how or why without massive spoilers but trust me, it is. In fact by the film's end it should leave you feeling all warm and gooey, and even choked up inside.

Levitt carries the film on his shoulders and does a great job as leading man, even with all the silly prosthetics on his face trying to make him look like a young Bruce Willis. Speaking of Willis, it's so good seeing him actually act again and not just phone it in playing the same old decrepit version of his 80's action self. In Moonrise Kingdom he did wonders as the sad and lonely police chief and here in Looper, he's the sad and angry avenging husband. Turns out emotions are Bruce Willis' secret weapon. Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels are great too. Daniels' role is small but he had me laughing like it was 1994 all over again.

I loved how grounded and probable the future world Johnson created looked. People wear jeans and t-shirts. They drive regular looking cars & trucks (albeit with solar panels and bio-fuel rigs on em') and cell phones/computers are still practical, not floating orbs of omniscient power. In Johnson's future world society has all but crumbled. People have access to weapons and dangerous technology like time travel, which can effectively shape and reshape the world around them as they see fit. But none of that matters if deep down inside, you're still an asshole. Who we are as people, individuals and collectively is what matters most. All the gadgets and plot devices in the world can't change a bad apple's core. The underlying theme of Looper is, raise your children right...for everyone's sake. You never know what kind of shit they'll do when they grow up.

Pretty deep for a sci-fi gangter flick.


  1. I actually had very little understanding of the plot. I really didn't. But now I do. It sounds less complicated than I thought, though still kind of complicated. Anyway, it sounds kind of weird. But not too bad, and maybe I'll check it out. I'm no good with movies.

  2. i still want to see it. thanks for the review

  3. At first I had no intention of seeing this, but for some reason I now want to see this film pretty badly. What's odd is that I haven't even seen any trailers for it other than the first and only time I saw it and I haven't heard anything about it. Odd.

  4. Yeah it was about time Willis did something of worth again. I enjoyed it, which was unexpected.

  5. I still have no clue what I'm gonna make of this when I see it. I think I'm gonna pass on seeing it at the movies though.

  6. You might qualify for a new government solar program.
    Find out if you are qualified now!