Looper

Looper is an excellently balanced action movie with a simplistic time travel aspect. It doesn’t get overly complicated with the time travel nature but if you’re not careful you can get lost in the story. The movie’s dystopian setting is filled with both gritty abandon cities as well as great futuristic tech that serves as fulfilling eye and mind candy for the audience. The relationships need to be fleshed out more but the awesome acting from Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt creates a smart and fast mind-puzzling movie.

Looper had me hooked since the very first trailer. Even though I’ve mentioned I’m not a big fan of time travel plots I was still eager to see this one. The concept looked great, the setting awesome, and of course, it stars Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis. Looper is going to be a hard movie to review because it’s very easy to spoil, so in order to prevent any major spoilers this review will feature a spoiler section at the end of this post. I want to repeat, if you wish to avoid spoilers stop reading after you see the contact info.

Looper is about a special set of assassins called, loopers. Loopers kill and dispose of their targets that are sent from the future by criminal organizations. The only rule is that they can’t let their target get away, even if the target is themselves.

The movie’s opening scene is short but strong and does a great job of setting the tone for the movie. We see a young Joseph Simmons, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, as he is taking out one of his assignments. He closes his watch, he readies his gun, and in one second we see his target appear and fall as he takes him out. It’s such a great scene and I loved the execution on it.

From here we get a voice over by Joseph as he is explaining his job and the rules. It’s concise yet informative, and helps the audience ease into the world. He also explains the time travel aspect of this movie in a simple manner. Joseph, along with a lot of other characters are quick to brush off the details of time travelling. I like that they did this because it allows the audience to go with the idea and focus on other plot elements. The only problem is that they make so many references to not wanting to talk about the time travel it became a little distracting.

Although it wasn’t overly complicated I still find myself trying to process the various timelines involved in this movie. It’s definitely a movie that warrants multiple viewings to get all of the information straight and find ways to avoid the paradoxes. I will say that there are a lot subtle nods to detail between the different futures that I liked and are fun to look out for. Needless to say, if you’re not paying attention you might easily get lost in this film’s plot.

The movie features an awesome cast who play some great characters. I’ve read a lot of comments that expressed that they didn’t buy into the fact that Joseph Gordon Levitt was suppose to be a younger Bruce Willis but I disagree. Although the make up on Levitt’s face was distracting at times, there were other moments where I could see a younger Willis in Levitt’s face. This has a lot to do with the mannerisms that Levitt brought to the character. Either way both actors do a fantastic job. Bruce Willis delivers an outstanding job and created a lot of powerful and emotional scenes. His side of the character was most definitely a tragic one and he is able to nail this sense down.

It’s hard to talk about other characters in this movie without giving a lot away, but rest assure the movie features a great cast, and some amazing acting from a really young actor. If anything, I would say that there are certain character relationships that I felt needed to be explored more to give an audience a clearer view of who is who. Especially if we’re dealing with different timelines it can get a little confusing.

In particular, there are two characters, Abe and Kid Blue, who have reoccurring scenes together.  There’s a lot of depth to these characters but it’s only through subtle nods and hints that we get any kind of history between these two. I’ll discuss more in the spoiler section below.

Another thing that I loved from Looper was the futuristic setting. All the fictional technology is integrated seamlessly with the world that never once does it feel like it’s distracting. The movie never emphasizes or focuses too much on it so it becomes just as natural to us as it is to the characters. The tone of the world is very grim and shows a clear imbalance of power among the citizens. The special effects in this movie are awe worthy as well and create for a lot of cinematic eye candy.

An oddity with Looper is the fact that I’m still at a loss for who we were supposed to be rooting for. Again, it’s hard to explain without spoiling, but the slow reveal of the plotline gives us different perspectives on both the past and future version of the same person. This is the aspect of Looper that drew me in the most and it gives the audience a lot to think about during this cat and mouse game.

Looper balances the pace of the movie nicely. It can go from fast paced action to a slower pace creating some incredible moments of dreadful tension, or slowing down just to help explain the situation to the viewer. The movie also handles the death scenes in unique ways, some involving the time travel aspect that is simply brilliant and surprisingly really dark.

Looper is an excellently balanced action movie with a simplistic time travel aspect. It doesn’t get overly complicated with the time travel nature but if you’re not careful you can get lost in the story. The movie’s dystopian setting is filled with both gritty abandon cities as well as great futuristic tech that serves as fulfilling eye and mind candy for the audience. The relationships need to be fleshed out more but the awesome acting from Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt creates a smart and fast mind-puzzling movie.

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Just to repeat, I’m going to be more liberal with plot spoilers for Looper past this point. If you have not seen the movie please skip these next few paragraphs.

Looper has an awesome side plot that compliments the time travel aspect really well. A certain percentage of the population has developed TK, or telekinesis.  It’s a shame that this is such a loosely explored plot line because it ultimately plays a big factor into the end of the movie. I wanted to learn more about the TK population and the extent of their powers. Regardless this plot line gives the movie a nice compliment to the time travel aspect and it allowed for probably one of the greatest young actors that I’ve ever seen.

Pierce Gagnon plays a young child named Cid, who plays a very special role in the movie. I won’t give too much away regarding his story, but I wanted to bring special note to this actor. His line delivery was fantastic and he was able to keep up with the older actors. Never once did I feel like I had to give the movie some slack due to the use of younger actors. He fits in perfectly.

In particular there is a scene about three-fourths into the movie where an agent comes to Cid’s mom house looking for Joe. Cid was already up stairs while Joe hides out back, leaving Cid’s mom, Sara, to deal with the agent alone. As she is trying to throw the agent for a loop Cid unknowingly walks down the stairs to find this strange man with his mom. Joe, who by this point is hiding behind the couch, looks towards Cid to motion him away but Cid refuses to leave. Instead, Cid looks at Joe and gestures towards the man and without saying a word he was able to convey a, “is this guy with you,” kind of message.  This is just one of the many scenes that Pierce Gagnon does such a fantastic job in.

As mentioned earlier, there are a couple of characters, Abe and Kid Blue, who seem to have more depth that is shown. Abe is the boss for all the loopers in the present time. He was originally from the future but was sent back to the present to handle the business on this end. Kid Blue is another reoccurring character that has the role of Abe’s lackey who is sent out to take care of important but easy tasks. Repeatedly we see Kid Blue screw up and come crawling back to Abe in a pathetic fashion. Abe frustrated with him always injures him but rarely kills him. It’s also very clear that Kid Blue is so desperate for Abe’s affection that it lead me to believe that Kid Blue was possibly Abe’s younger self. It’s an interesting theory but aside from the subtle hints there’s little concrete evidence to suggest this. This is a great example of the great attention to detail within the movie though. There are a lot of instances like this that leave the audience wondering how it lines up with the present and future characters, however, in Abe’s and Kid Blue’s case I just would have liked to have seen it fleshed out just a bit more. It would have given the end of the movie a bigger impact given the way it plays out.

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One response to “Looper

  1. Pingback: Movie Monday Update Week of December 31st | Thinking Cinematic

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