Looper (2012)

September 30, 2012 By Mike B
Movie Review

Looper film review

What Worked?

There have been many amazing time travel films before this, but what separates Looper from the rest is how deep it gets with the concept of fixing past mistakes. Rian Johnson reunites with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this story about a “looper,” a hit-man that executes people in the future sent back to his present, named Joe that messes up a hit on his future self. This  Sci-fi film is one of the rare gems that escapes the cookie-cutter of Hollywood.

Rian Johnson’s script is entertaining just as it is thought-provoking. The subjects brought up are complex, challenging you to guess what’s going to happen next. Viewers think they can anticipate the next step but Johnson throws curve ball after curve ball, and he has quite an arm on him. Looper examines what it is like to have the opportunity to right the wrongs of the younger version of yourself to try and become something better than what you ended up being. The action isn’t anything fancy, but it has weight behind it so there is tension and drive in every chase and every bullet fired. Johnson’s future world of a dystopian Kansas 2044 (and 2074) is also fully-realized, as he gives us a future that’s grounded more in what will really come to fruition than what past films have drawn out the future to be: a glossy, hi-tech play-land. There are junkies who drop liquid into their eyeballs, TKs (telekinetics) who are only powerful enough to move coins, retro weapons, and silver/gold being used as currency. The special effects are a side dish, and a rather tasty one at that, rather than the main spectacle, as the story and acting take center stage.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Joe, a younger version of Bruce Willis’ Joe in the future, shows us once again why he’s one of the top younger actors working today. Every facial expression, mannerism and tick of the younger Joe is an amazing interpretation of Bruce Willis; however, Gordon-Levitt creates a complex character with Bruce Willis mannerisms rather than just acting like Bruce Willis. The younger Joe is a junkie that’s good with a blunderbuss, yet still has morals beneath his thick skin; he’s a loner with a big heart guarded by a wall of silver bricks.

On the other hand, Bruce Willis plays older Joe who’s hellbent on staying alive and saving a woman he loves in his own time by taking advantage of his execution trip to the past. There’s vengeance in Willis’ eyes, but what he has to do to make things right again may kill his soul. Willis and Gordon-Levitt play two different versions of the same character, and the juxtaposition of the two, especially their mindsets and choices, are something worth boggling over. Both nail their respective roles and instill humanity into the film, making it more than just another time travel action film.

Looper leaves us pondering about second chances, and having faith in humanity. If we could change the present by tweaking the past, by what means should we tweak the past? Violence? Knowledge? Love? The easiest way is usually the worst, yet the most effective. Looper feeds us with these questions that will expand the mind. The film gives us the notion that sometimes you have to step aside and let second chances happen rather than live with the regret that you got in the way.

Potential Drawbacks:

There are loopholes in this time travel film, like any other, but for the most part the film handles the concept of time travel rather well. For those that don’t want to think, and prefer a straight action flick, this isn’t the one to go to. It’s advertised as an action film, but it’s much more than that.

The make-up. Some may be bothered by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s make-up job. It does make him look a bit more like Bruce Willis, but some may think it’s just too distracting.

Lastly, the interaction between the past and present Joe isn’t as much as some would like. The concept of talking to your past/future self is so interesting that some may have wanted more scenes with the two Joes together.

Film Recommendations:

12 Monkeys







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