Friday, September 28, 2012

Movie Review: "Looper"

What happens in the future when the Mob wants to get rid of people?  Well, they send them back in time of course.  To a point in time where no one is looking for them.  Standing in wait are these assassins named Loopers, who kill these time travelers on the spot and then incinerate the bodies.  Of course, what happens when a future version of yourself is sent back and you must kill him, failing in the process?  Well, now you're being hunted down while trying to set things right and kill yourself, I mean, your future self.  Still with me?  Because if you are, and you think that sounds cool, then you'll like the movie Looper.

In the film, Joseph Gordon-Levitt portrays a young Bruce Willis with eerie accuracy, in a large part thanks to some excellent prosthetic makeup.  What's so enjoyable about this film though, is that it's just original.  At every turn, writer/director Rian Johnson is turning your usual expectations for a sci-fi film on its head.  The future is not full of flying cars and robots, but it's a more gritty, realistic idea, where only the rich have hover bikes, and the poor still drive wheeled vehicles.  As well, things like telekinesis and time travel are treated as everyday things.  There is some social commentary here, but that's not the real meat of Johnson's story.  The real questions he proposes, is the age old question -- Can you change the future?

While Looper bogs down in it's latter half, as Gordon-Levitt finds himself holed up at a farm with a single mother and her child (who could give Damien from The Omen a run for his money in terms of creepiness), Johnson manages to hold the film together and deliver an emotional ending.  So it isn't perfect, but Looper is one of the more daringly original sci-fi films in a long while.  Featuring stellar action, good performances, and plenty of food for thought, Looper is a worthy sci-fi successor in the Kubrickian-fashion.

I give Looper a B+

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