Looper (2012 film)

If you flip this poster upside-down, Bruce Willis gets the lead, and the movie is now titled : “Repool”. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t mean anything.

Time travel movies never make sense. No one has ever written anything that doesn’t have at least one big plot hole. “Looper” is no exception to this rule. However, Rian Johnson (writer/director) did a fine job in avoiding the vast majority of common pitfalls that come with incorporating time travel into a plot. If you aren’t careful, you can easily get mired down in sorting through the details of logical impossibilities, and subsequently, the movie falls apart quickly. By choosing to acknowledge the existence of these fallacies, and politely ask the audience to not dwell on them, Johnson succeeds in keeping the plot intact just enough to deliver a compelling storyline. There are two scenes where characters assume the voice of the writer, essentially speaking to the audience when they say : “Don’t try to understand time travel, it will only make your head hurt. So, just accept that it’s real, and enjoy the ride”. While not a terribly creative solution, it is nonetheless, an acceptable and effective one.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays young Joseph Simmons, while Bruce Willis plays old Joseph Simmons. The make-up was convincing enough to bridge the gap between the two actors who really don’t look much alike. Also, for this particular character, a natural, cutesy Gordon-Levitt baby face would not have looked tough or haggard enough for the part. In short, the make-up was a double win.

Jesus, don’t look too closely!

The acting in this movie was pretty excellent across the board. The biggest risk in a project with this kind of budget, is to cast an untested child actor in a central role. With Pierce Gagnon playing Cid(The Rainmaker), this gamble paid off big time. He was outstanding. With the wrong casting for this role, this movie could have easily drifted off into a sea of cheese. Pierce showed the full range – first, evoking some serious rage, and then squeezing out the waterworks. Pretty cool to watch.

Emily Blunt played the role of Sara(Cid’s Mother), and did well enough. For some reason, the scenes where she hacked away at a stump, stood out to me as unintentionally hilarious. If someone told me that I chopped wood “like a girl”, I imagine this is what it might look like. It seemed like it took every ounce of strength she had to swing a 6 pound axe.

Reenforcing female stereotypes one swing at a time.

Jeff Daniels plays “Abe”, the only character in the movie whose motivations made no sense. As a side note, I can’t seem to detach Daniels from his role as Harry Dunne in “Dumb and Dumber”. It’s much the same way I can’t separate Keanu Reeves from his “Ted” Theodore Logan character. I guess if you do a convincing enough job playing a dumbass, I can’t erase the echoes of that character from my memory – no matter how big of a departure you make. But, that’s my problem. The problem with the “Abe” character, is that it’s unclear why he would give a rat’s dick about following the orders of his future bosses. Why wouldn’t he simply go find the baby versions of his bosses and kill them? Or, if they weren’t born yet, go and kill their parents. I mean, he’s supposed to be a conniving, murderous criminal, right?? Or better yet, if you have knowledge of everything that will happen for the next thirty years, pull a “Biff” from “Back To The Future 2”, and basically take over the world by having more money than anyone else.

“Someone please explain to me why I don’t make any sense.”

I think they could have been a bit more thoughtful with that aspect of the story. But, whatever. I guess this is a minor point, and since the filmmakers were mindful enough to concede defeat, I’ll let it go. So if you go to see “Looper”, and you can find this forgiveness Rian Johnson so delicately asks of you, then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy the rest of this uniquely crafted thrill ride.

Overall Rating :  8.4/10

– JA

One thought on “Looper (2012 film)

  1. Like you I usually dislike time travel movies because of the paradoxes and logical fallacies that result from the time dialation. As such, the only stories of this nature that I like are ones where a different timeline is developed separately from the original. Great instances of this is the book 1632, where Virginians from 2000 are transported to Germany during the 30 years war. I’ve refrained from watching this movie because I typically hate stories where people travel back in time to meet themselves. Great review!

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