A couple of weeks (posts) ago, I mentioned a new Joseph Gordon-Levitt film that was coming out soon.  Well it’s out and I’ve seen it, so now for the inevitable review, because, like the good fan girl that I try to be, I forced myself to go to the cinemas, spend 2 hours appreciating JGL so that I could give my readers the feedback I’m sure they desperately needed.

Moving on.

The Plot:

Set in 2044, time travel hasn’t yet been invented.  However, thirty years from then, in 2074,  it will have been.  Only thing is, it’s also been outlawed.  Despite this, mafia members choose to use time travel as a convenient way to dispose of bodies.  So how do they do it?  They enlist ‘loopers’ like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character Joe, who receives a message from the future, prepares himself, and blows the body, when it appears from the future, to kingdom come.  Then he disposes of the body, and collects his reward.  Easy.

Only thing is, when the future mafia wishes to ‘close the loop’ they send the future version of the Looper (eg. future JGL) to the past, where they have to kill…themselves.  Sounds confusing, but makes perfect sense when portrayed in the film.

While this usually goes down without a problem (except for the realisation that in 30 years you’re going to kill yourself, so to speak), Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) manages to escape without being blown to pieces by his younger counterpart.  What then follows is a chase between two men who are essentially the same person, the mafia who can’t really have their target running around in the past, and a small child who may or may not become the source of all evil (or something like that).  Also, Emily Blunt shows up as a scary farmer hick, who booty calls JGL using a frog.  All class.

What Went Right:

  • The acting was always going to be good in this film.  When has JGL ever disappointed us, really?  And Looper was no exception, which was impressive to see, considering he was wearing a prothestic face to make him look like Bruce Willis.  Kinda kooky.  And Bruce Willis was in his element, playing the rampaging badarse who’s on a mission.  It was particularly enjoyable to see him covered head to toe in blood, clutching a gun, a murderous expression on his face, since the last film he was in was Moonrise Kingdom.  Bit of a difference.
  • Time-travelling.  Time travel films can confuse the heck out of the viewer.  There’s this guy, and this guy, who’s really the same guy, but not really. Huh?  Yet, in Looper this didn’t seem to be a problem.  Except for one scene which ‘looped’ back to show us two perspectives, we were good to go.  Thoroughly impressed by this, so kudos to writer and director Rian Johnson.
  • *SPOILER ALERT*-THAT torture scene.  Everyone has seen a torture scene or two in their lifetime of watching films.  It’s inevitable.  And while I don’t appreciate these at the best of times, the torture scene in Looper managed to make me feel more nauseous than usual, and all with very little gore involved.  Very clever, and manages to use a tonne of fantastic special effects.  Shall I set the scene for you?  We’re got a fellow Looper, Seth, who has allowed his target, and future self, to escape.  The mafia don’t like that, since it effectively stuffs up the time continuum they’ve got going on.  So, after they capture young Seth (thanks to JGL ratting him out, not cool), they use him as ‘bait’ so to speak, to find old Seth.   See, whatever happens to young Seth will, of course, affect old Seth.  Are you still with me?  So, we’re following old Seth as he’s trying to run away.  First, we find a scar on his arm with an address and a command to be there in 15 minutes.  That’s when we realise that somewhere, at that time, young Seth had been mutilated.  It gets worse.  We follow Old Seth as he makes it to this location, but it’s difficult.  First he loses his fingers.  Then we notice his nose is missing, and his face is badly scarred.  Whoops, there goes both legs.  And then his arms.  And finally, as he arrives at the location, we see the terribly mutilated corpse of young Seth, and old Seth disappears…as he no longer exists.  Bone-chilling stuff.
  • Cinematography.  I’m a big fan of how a film looks and in this regard, Looper did not disappoint. While quite similar to present day, the odd touches of futuristic gadgets, as well as the lighting and use of panning provides a completely different air; somehow, even without knowing this film was set in the future, you could still tell something was different.  Perfect.

What Could Of Been Done Better:

  • Paul Dano’s acting well, it just annoys the hell out of me.  Unfortunately he’s got the type of face that means he’ll inevitably be type-casted as the whiny guy, but damnit, it’s annoying.  The last film I was saw him in was There Will Be Blood and he played the same miserable, whiny guy, and that type of character gets old, fast.
  • The storyline.  In Looper’s defence, it had a massive buildup since it had been compared to Inception, so I was expecting high-class twists.  Sadly, no.  Not only did I get the twist easily, but the ending didn’t leave me wanting more, or questioning or analysing but rather going…”and the whole point of the movie was…?”

Overall, I would recommend seeing this film.  It’s a high class thriller, and is better than most mainstream films that have been released this year.  There’s a clearly competent cast, full of heavy-weights, and director and writer Rian Johnson is no stranger to creating thought-provoking, polished filmed.

Have you seen Looper?  What did you think?  Exceed your expectations or disappoint?  Let me know in the comments!