Looper (12/31/12)

LooperMovie Three Hundred Two

In Looper, time travel is used by the mafia to dispose of people and a young hitman soon finds his future self his target.

In 2074, time travel is illegal and used only on the black market by criminals looking to dispose of bodies. They send the victims back 30 years, strapped with cash where a hitman known as a “looper” on the other end finishes the job and collects the payment from the body with the only condition being that the victims do not escape. When a looper’s time is finished, his future self is sent back for the younger looper to kill; this is known as closing the loop.  Joseph Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a looper whose future self, Old Joe (Bruce Willis), as his hit but Old Joe escapes. Old Joe and Young Joe meet at a diner and Old Joe says is looking to stop a mysterious figure in the future known only as The Rainmaker who is the one closing all the loops. Young Joe finds some coordinates from Old Joe and heads to an isolated farm where Sara (Emily Blunt) lives with her young son, Cid (Pierce Gagnon), who Old Joe believes may be The Rainmaker.

I went into Looper with very lofty expectations. Though I missed the theatrical run, I have seen nothing but glowing praise for the film since its release. I’m afraid that my expectations were not quite met by Looper though I did thoroughly enjoy most of it. Time travel is both Looper’s biggest asset and point of contention for me. Looper is a bit of a refreshing take on time travel and it gets away from many of the quirks of telling a time travel story, but it also kind of crudely pushes aside the belief that Old Joe can exist.

Let me explain, and I assure you this is not a spoiler – For Old Joe to exist in the future, Young Joe would have to kill him in the past. The same scene with Old Joe escaping plays out in the film with Old Joe getting killed, thus allowing Young Joe to grow old and live his life to become Old Joe. I was able to suspend my disbelief for the sake of the rest of the film, but while talking in the diner, Young Joe asks about time travel and Old Joe gruffly talks about how it’s too difficult to explain and then they move on. I understand that time travel is a difficult concept to portray but something about this didn’t jibe with me. Also, don’t try to figure out if anyone else in 2034 is from the future, I did and it was futile and may even hinder your enjoyment of the story.

Time travel quibbles aside, I found Looper to be extremely well made. Joseph Gordon-Levitt with his makeup on looks remarkably like Bruce Willis. Gordon-Levitt even has most of Willis’ mannerisms down pat, it’s a lot of fun to watch. Pierce Gagnon, the youngest actor in Looper by about 20 years, possibly gives the best performance of the film. Writer/director Rian Johnson creates a very believable setting, all things considered, and makes Looper a smart action film, a combination that unfortunately doesn’t seem to come along very often.

I give it 4 completely awesome Mondo posters out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


47 responses to “Looper (12/31/12)

  1. I haven’t watched Looper yet, but i have the exact same feeling as you with Looper. I think I would find this movie enjoyable, but would I think it’s a movie worth my praise? Maybe not.

  2. Old Joe could have just said, “F*ck if I know how it works.” Really enjoyed this one though. But the telekinesis didn’t even seem all that necessary.

  3. The downfall of any time travel movie is the paradoxes they create if you think about how it is used in the film. I overlooked that downfall because of the originality of the story, and the way it surprised me.

    Surprisingly, one of the movies that did the best job of explaining the paradoxes of time travel was Guy Pearce’s “The Time Machine”. He never understood why no matter how may times he saved his wife she always died. The big brain Morlock at the end simply explains that if she never dies then you never make the time machine.

    • Yeah, it’s easy to dismiss all that stuff and just look at the film for some but for me it’s a sticking point. The Time Machine is a rare time that it’s used well. I think Back to the Future is surprisingly adept too, though some leeway needs to be given.

    • The whole time I kept expecting a turn of realization that another character was from the future. The kid, especially…Then thinking Jeff Daniels had to exist in the past even though he was from the future…Then I got tired of thinking and maybe missed out on enjoying some of the movie.

    • I honestly would have had a better time with it if I wasn’t trying to figure it out. Turns out there wasn’t really anything to figure out and by expecting plot twists or something, I ended up feeling almost disappointed that it was fairly straight forward.

      I can see how you would rate it so highly though.

    • The (central) story about the mom and the boy with super powers I did not see that coming as i dont recall them in the trailer. I’d be interested to know what happens to the kid. This movie is a good but not in my favorites of 2012.

  4. I give this movie all the praise it deserves its that good. I agree with you about the diner scene where Old Joe doesnt explain about time travel and on the blu-ray extra it shows an extended version of the diner scene where Old Joe does explain time travel with the straws on the table. Johnson should have left that scene instead because it was educational to the film.

  5. Nice review Andy. 😉 Petty much sums up how I felt about it (apart from the makeup on JGL – which I felt was way too much of a distraction on a forty foot cinema screen – perhaps it doesn’t look so bad on a home theatre setup?). I thought the kid was amazingly good.

  6. I enjoyed Looper but didn’t love it, pretty much like you said. Time travel movies are a difficult thing to do well because if you try and think about them too much, they simply don’t make sense most of the time. My main problem, however, was that I didn’t really care what happened to either Joe. I was much more interested in Emily Blunt and son.

  7. Pingback: My December Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

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