“Then I Saw It; I Saw A Mom Die For Her Son; A Man Who Would Kill For His Wife; A Boy Angry And Alone. Laid Out In Front Of Him, The Bad Path, I Saw It. That Path Was A Circle... Round And Round... So I Changed It.”
October 18th, 2012
My watching, and subsequently reviewing, of this movie was a complete spur of the moment decision. At least the watching was. I've found that after I watch a movie, or if I get something through Netflix, I'm always asking myself, "Do I want to review this?" That is far beside the point. When I woke up this morning I had zero intention of sitting down and taking this movie in. But as I try and prepare myself for what I'm about to try and type out... I am thoroughly satisfied that I did decide to sit and watch "Looper" instead of whatever temporarily enjoyable programming there is on television at this moment.
Trust me, if you're reading this and you haven't yet seen "Looper", and you're trying to decide on whether or not to see it... do yourself a favor. Go watch it.
The year is 2044. Time travel has not yet been invented, but it will be in thirty years. However, it is immediately outlawed. The only people that make use of it are the criminal organizations that want to get rid of someone. To do so they send that someone back, sack over their head, money included, and a looper disposes of them. This is how we meet Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Joe enjoys his outwardly glamorous lifestyle, has no regrets and makes no excuses for himself. Everything is going along well until one day Joe "sees himself". His older self, Old Joe (Bruce Willis) has been sent back to be dealt with. From that moment, Joe knows nothing will ever be the same and soon finds himself racing to protect what he comes to value much more than what he futilely held on to.
What an interesting movie this was. Actually, to be fair, "interesting" doesn't quite cover what "Looper" is. In a nutshell "Looper" is a time travel drama/thriller. What Director Rian Johnson presents to us however is something wholly different. Instead of being the stereotypical "Time travel, save the girl/world" embarrassment, we're given something that could actually be believable.
Now you're probably questioning, "If it's a "time travel/future movie" how can it be believable?" It can be because we're not flung centuries or millennia into our future. They're aren't scores of hover cars flying around a metallic megalopolis or robots/cyborgs/androids tottering around looking like humans. No, one of the many things I enjoyed so much about this movie was that the Director chose to keep things plausible, to a certain extent. Will there be hovering motorcycles by 2044? I can only hope so because that would be awesome. Although, I guess it would be irrelevant because by that year I'll be in my mid fifties...
Anyway, despite the spur-of-the-moment aspect I mentioned earlier, and before the movie had even reached its halfway point, I knew I wanted to review "Looper" because it's different than what we've already seen. Sure it plays with the conventional Science-Fiction tropes of this specific subject, but it's done in a way that is fresh and so completely engaging that I couldn't look away from what was happening. Much like "Inside Man", this was something different. Once I got up from my seat, but as I moved around my eyes were fixated on the screen. And that is due in large part to the fantastic performances given by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt.
Each actor is presented in a way that while obviously flawed, you can see that despite those blemishes, each character is relatable. As I think back to each character that we saw in "Looper", there is only one that I would question the choice of their inclusion. They were overall annoying and sometimes unbelievably stupid but, to their benefit, still able to be connect to. In one particular scene, which due to some other reviews and comments,I played up to being much worse, we see Bruce Willis' character commit an atrocious act but we understand why he did it. We also see the immediate side-effects that choice had on him. Instead of making him a stone-hearted, remorseless executioner who can take anything and keep going, we see the exact opposite and I loved that.
I can't tell you the last theatrically released movie, that had Bruce Willis in it, that I went and saw in theaters. Actually as I think back now, I vaguely remember going and watching 2007's "Live Free or Die Hard" in my local theater. Five years was how long ago it was that Bruce Willis was so interesting to me that I physically went to a theater to see him and not just wait until whatever he was in came out on DVD. While his co-star JGL was the main draw for me, Bruce was shown to be better than he had been in years. Through the scenes from the first full-length trailer for "Looper" anyway. I am pleased to say that the trailer, and this movie, didn't pull a "Revenge of the Fallen".
I read in another review that "Looper" is this year's "Inception". As I think that statement over, I can see how that person made that claim. Each movie is completely their own beast that presents us with something so uniquely different. Each movie redefines itself and what people may assume of them during the course of their playings out. Does "Looper" have the same ambiguous ending that SPOILER "Inception" does? I won't ruin things completely by telling you. You'll have to see for yourself.
While there were many, many things that could've gone wrong with this movie, there was a scant amount of them so blatant that I could make a credible complaint against this movie. I can certainly see where some faults may lay, as another reviewer pointed out, but they're not so apparent to me as to detract from my level of enjoyment. There is one other thing that I find to be very interesting and that is the fact that "Looper" is only Rian Johnson's third feature film. He's only made three movies. I haven't seen or heard much in the way of praise for "The Brothers Bloom" but that's not the case with "Brick". Which, in case you didn't know, first brought Mr. Rian and JGL together. I can't wait to see what his next project will be.
I can only hope that it proves to be as unique as this movie was.
This was a review by tMG. Thank you very much for reading.