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Looper - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Directing: B
Acting: B
Writing: B-
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B+
Special Effects: B+

Telekinesis plays a prominent role in Looper, which, aside from a brief shot of Emily Blunt hovering a cigarette lighter above her hand, the promotional materials never really make clear. Is it supposed to be a surprise? It doesn't feel like it when you watch the movie. In fact, as it starts, this supposed "mutation" that caused 10% of the population to have this ability is downplayed: for pretty much everyone, it amounts to little more than being able to hover quarters above their hands. But: without this kind of hokey plot thread, there would not be the story that this film sets out to tell.

But there's a slight problem. Time travel also plays prominently in this story, and that alone is enough to put a strain on one's suspension of disbelief. We've seen enough of time travel, haven't we? And as if this blatant lack of plausibility weren't enough, it's compounded with 10% of the population being telekinetic -- or "TK," as all the characters refer to it.

And then there's "The Rainmaker." The Rainmaker is the true villain in this movie, and we never see him as an adult. Thirty years into the future -- from the year 2044 in which the movie is already set -- this person sets down a "reign of terror." It is in the "now," of 2044, that there is an attempt to stop the man -- now a child. This child has some serious, unprecedented, telekinetic abilities. Who would have thought that Looper as a strain of Carrie in its DNA? You don't want to make this kid mad.

Writer-director Rian Johnson sets the film in Kansas, of all places. Maybe because having so many scenes on the farm where the boy lives saved money on futuristic sets. There are several wide shots of the farm, or roads through corn fields, with a pretty massive skyline in the distance. What city is that supposed to be? Wichita? It's never specified. I suppose it could be Kansas City -- Missouri, sure, but it borders Kansas City, Kansas. Either way, come on: that much urban development in the next 32 years? Sorry, I don't buy it.

Yeah yeah, I'm being nitpicky, but these things matter to me. If you're going to set a movie in the future you should make it plausible. Plausibility is not one of this movie's strengths, on any front. Makeup and special effects are, though: as unrealistic as that city is in theory, it's convincingly rendered. Also, Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks nothing like Bruce Willis, but thanks to facial prosthetics, he looks uncannily like he could be a young Bruce Willis in this movie.

In the past, time-travel movies made up inexplicable reasons why meeting yourself from the past or future would somehow cause a tear in the space-time continuum or some such shit. Looper doesn't bother with that; here we have Young Joe and Old Joe by turns working with and against each other. And generally, implausibility aside, it works: there's always a desire to find out what will happen, at least. It's also kind of nice to see Bruce Willis in an action(ish) movie where his character is, relatively speaking, age appropriate. Okay, he does kick the shit out of several people at once, whatever. It was not as over the top as, say, Live Free or Die Hard.

Joe is the titular Looper, a guy in 2044 who is employed by a crime syndicate using time travel illegally thirty years later to send people back in time to be killed. The Loopers do the killing. Eventually their old self is sent back in time to be killed by themselves, but always with a hood over their head. Somehow, with all the technology they have 60 years from now, they still can't do any better than hoods over heads. Old Joe sure does get rid of his hood with ease: and that's how, when he goes back in time, he shows up with his face revealed.

I'll give Looper this: it may not make the idea of time travel any less ridiculous, but it finds clever ways to close the circles it creates with it. It's adequately entertaining, so it's fairly easy to keep from having to think too hard about it, at least until the movie's over. It makes nice use of Jeff Daniels as a crime boss from the future (I got two good laughs out of him at least) and Emily Blunt as the improbably beautiful Kansas farmer.

It does raise some important questions that never get answered. Somehow, Sara the farmer lady knows what a Looper is, and we never find out why. Is she psychic as well as telekinetic?

Looper is the kind of movie that fancies itself as "deep" but really requires little to no thought. There could have been a lot in the way of intellectual stimulation here -- in the vein of, say, Inception -- but it has none. At best it has some nifty ideas that don't go anywhere great. But! It pulls you along at a steady clip. It's a well-rendered science fiction pseudo-action movie that at least holds attention, even the memory of it evaporates like someone from the future suddenly snuffed from the past.

Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt try to close the LOOPER.

Overall: B
2 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 3rd, 2012 12:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I give this movie review a C-
tommy50702 From: tommy50702 Date: January 13th, 2015 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Very good movie, and one of the best sci-fi movies in years.
2 comments or Leave a comment