Review: 'Looper' explores many facets
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 20:10
The title "Looper" was really well chosen, because this movie really threw me for a loop (explaining it all might twist your mind too much). Knowing the central premise isn’t a spoiler; the film wants to explore every possible facet of that idea.
What’s more, by taking place just thirty-odd years from now, writer-director Rian Johnson shows us where he thinks the world will someday be. His core idea includes a hired killer from the future traveling thirty years back in time in order to confront his younger self and change the course of history. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the younger Joe, whose conscience isn’t rattled by his job as a paid killer, because he never actually sees the hooded men he murders, until his older self arrives.
Also, he gets to live what passes for the good life in 2044. Gordon-Levitt has had his face altered with prosthetic makeup so he will more closely resemble his future self, played by Bruce Willis. I’m not sure this was entirely necessary. Instead of emphasizing their facial similarities, it caused me to stare quizzically at Gordon-Levitt throughout the picture. However, it was wonderfully done with practical makeup, unlike most movies now where CGI plays a crucial role.
Seeing both of them in the same scene together really shows how detailed they got with changing subtle things like his eyes and chin. Willis is risking a great deal by traveling back in time and trying to steer his younger self in the right direction and save his life in the future from becoming what it does.
Worse yet, he finds the young man he once was to be incredibly stubborn and unwilling to take his advice. Their deadly game of cat-and-mouse, in which they’re both being tracked by the bad guys who run their operation, winds up in a country setting, where Emily Blunt and her young son become victims and participants in the unfolding of this mind-baffling tale that will leave you breathless.
When watching this movie, you really get your mind wrapped around this story as it unfolds in many different points to pay attention to. The film did have its moments that seemed to drag on as it focused on a single idea. This is probably intentional by the director as he leads you into the not-so-happy ending that you want to play out differently or don't want to, depending on whom you want to win. Figuring out who to root for in this film also becomes a difficult case. Should you cheer on the young Joe, looking to score big money and save what is left of his life, or the older Joe trying to prevent a terrible future, or the mother/son who just want to live a normal life? All of this will boil down on you to the very end.
This movie isn’t what I expected it to be from viewing the trailers, but it really impressed me in a way most movies don’t these days. I give the film 3 ½ complete loops out of 5.