So, last night I saw the new movie Looper, with a few of my friends. A particular friend of mine and I have always been fascinated in time travel and the possibility of such, so the fact that this movie centres around time travel had us interested. So we went and saw it, and now I have a review for you. As usual, I’ll try and keep it spoiler free.
Looper is set in LA in ~2049, and follows the story of a Looper, whose job it is to kill people sent back to him from the future. Loopers live rather opulent lives, however part of the deal is that eventually the person they’ll be sent is their future self. This is there last kill, after which they are free to go live their lives for thirty years, until they’re collected to be sent back to the past, to be killed by themselves. However, this particular guy fails to kill himself, and a series of events ensue. That’s the movie, without spoiling anything…
Like I said, I went into this movie, mainly just interested in its portrayal and use of time travel. I wasn’t exactly sure what type of movie it was going to be. It had been described as sci-fi, but that may have been just because it involved a bit of time travel. One friend said he thought it might be an action-chase movie, “I’m gonna get you” kind of thing, like The Transporter or Taken, or something. But it actually turned out to be a proper sci-fi movie. Time travel is a much more integral part of the storyline than I had first thought, as well as various other sci-fi elements , which were a pleasant surprise. Maybe it was because I only seen one trailer (repeatedly) for Looper before I saw it, but it was quite different from the way it was portrayed. There were lots of little twists and surprises that filled the movie with complexity much deeper than I had expected, and even deeper than I’d hoped for. From the moment it started, something about it made me think that I was in for something more intriguing than I’d first presumed.
Another thing that was a bit of a surprise about Looper was the amount of gore. I don’t have a weak stomach, but I don’t have a strong one either. I turn away pretty much at any sign of blood, or even talk of cuts and gore. I can hardly stand to look at my own hands when I’ve nicked them for fear of how bad the cut will be. That said, I’ve seen all of the Resident Evil movies (except the one that just got released) and I hardly batted an eyelid for most of them. Anyway, what I’m trying to get at is that this movie has a bit of gore. More than I thought there’d be. The loopers use blunderbusses, which are like really inefficient and messy shotguns. Thus, there is some visible gobbets. However, this isn’t the only blood you’ll see. As the movie goes on, there seems to be more and more killing, each with more horrific violence. I guess that’s what you get when you have Bruce Willis in your movie.
While it wasn’t really the focus of the movie, I found the social commentary that it makes through the way it depicts the world quite interesting. From the advances and changes in technology, to the visible divide in living conditions of those living in the city, there were some clear opinions being expressed here. And they weren’t optimistic ones either. In the year 2049, a computer screen is just a piece of glass, and the keyboard is a holographic interface a bit like a laser keyboard, but without the visuals. Meanwhile, the majority of the population of LA is living in poverty, most of the city is a slum where scruffy people beg and fight to survive, and people are shot dead in the street without a care. There’s a mixture of old cars and new ones, with all the old ones have some sort of equipment visibly retrofitted , assumedly to work with some new power source. China’s rise to power is also hinted at, with cash even bearing the portrait of Mao Zedong. And, of course, there’s the fact that the movie claims that in ~2079, time travel will be invented and instantly outlawed. By that, I’ll be 86 before time travel is invented. I’ve got a long time to wait…
One thing that kind of annoyed me was that, after all was said and done, there were a number of paradoxes and occurrences left unresolved. The chain of causation that produced the beginning of the movie, didn’t fit with the ending. They didn’t even try to rationalise it really. That wasn’t the first time this sort of thing happened in the movie. Early on, a situation occurs to illustrate the effects an experience by someone from the present would have on their future self. The problem was, while whatever happened to them was reflected in their “current-future” self, it wasn’t retroactively applied, i.e. the change is only reflected in the “current-future” self, but not the “past-future” self. Let me try and explain it with an unrelated example. Imagine you’re riding a bike, and everything’s fine. For some reason, your enemy sees you riding the bike, and decides to stop you by time-travelling back to before you got on the bike, and removing the chain. This now makes the bike impossible to use, so it should have altered the whole timeline and you would no longer get on your bike because you can’t. However, the way Looper deals with this situation is to have you suddenly fall off your bike because the chain has suddenly disappeared. How did you get on the bike and start riding without the chain?!? (Yes, I do realise that my example has a causation paradox, but that’s not the point!)
I really enjoyed this movie, because it turned out to be a bit more of a thinking-man’s action flick. The time travel and other sci-fi elements added depth and complexity if you’re looking for something to think about, but it can all be skimmed over, like the movie itself does, by those who would rather a more purely action thriller experience.
Have you seen Looper? What did you think? Did it live up to your expectations? Have I said anything you disagree with? Tell me & everyone else who passes through here what you think in the comment below, or on the Facebook page.
Your Friendly Neighbourhood
- Is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ‘Looper’ The Best Movie Of The Year? (contactmusic.com)
- Bruce Willis And Time Travel, Both More Alive Than Ever. Looper, Reviewed. [Grierson & Leitch] (deadspin.com)
- Film: Movie Review: Looper (avclub.com)
- Watch This: 10 Things You Should Know About Looper – With a Few Spoilers! (wired.com)