Looper starts out as one movie before becoming something completely different. In that way, it’s like the character Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis play – the same person, but two completely different selves.

Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper. He’s a paid assassin who executes individuals from the future. The mob sends them back using an illegal time travel device (in the narrative of the film time travel is outlawed immediately after it is created) and Joe dispatches them and hides the bodies. It’s a cool concept, though it raises some questions. The duty of a Looper is essentially the easiest and least-skilled job in the film’s vision of the future – yet it’s highly paid and employs specialized assassins. All Joe has to do is stand in a field, wait for a body to appear from the future, and immediately pull the trigger. Flipping burgers is harder.

Eventually, a Looper has to kill themselves. Not their current, present self, but their future self. That’s where Bruce Willis comes in – he’s Joe thirty years in the future and he’s got some unfinished business to attend to. So, Willis is sent from the future to be killed by Levitt – spoiler alert: it doesn’t pan out that way – and the movie morphs from a film noir to a cat-and-mouse chase thriller before settling on a philosophical thought experiment played out as Western. It’s pretty heavy stuff.

The only area that Looper stumbles is where all other time-travel films do – time paradoxes. We can easily explain them away by relying on a “multiple universe” theory (i.e. there’s not one linear timeline but several different ones) but there is still some head scratching involved. I was thinking about if there is a time-travel movie that doesn’t suffer from this problem (at least as obviously), and I think there is: Back to the Future.  The difference between that film and Looper is that the time-travelling character is going back to a period where they don’t exist. Thus, the only thing Marty McFly can change is his parent’s future and not his own character. By having Bruce Willis travel back in time to hang out and beat up his younger self, the path his younger self takes is altered, and thus Willis’ path is as well. It’s all a bit confusing.

Looper is a fun and creative (don’t hear that too often) actioner that stumbles a bit with the time-travel concept yet still manages to pull it off almost better than anyone else (one scene in particular about using a present Looper’s body to find his escaped future self, is brilliant and nauseating).

Grade: A-

Sidenote: If you could travel back in time and kill Hitler as a child, would you do it? How about if you knew one out of twenty kids was Hitler, but didn’t know which one? What would you do then?


One Response to Looper

  1. dbmoviesblog says:

    Great review (although I have to disagree on Hitler part, if it were not Hitler, it would have been somebody else – Germany was ‘ready’ for it and the mentality was already widespread).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: