“Looper” is an incredibly entertaining and witty sci-fi film that will keep you guessing until the end.
The problem with most time travel films is that they try to explain any possible paradoxes within the story, which eventually become confusing and convoluted as the complexity of the issues unfold.
However, “Looper” smartly sidesteps these issues with a quick and comical quip from Old Joe (Bruce Willis) to his younger self, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The film starts off in 2044, 30 years before time travel is invented. Joe is a looper, a contract killer for the mob, disposing of people sent back in time.
For the mob, time travel replaces the old cement shoes, but giving a much better guarantee that they won’t be found in the ocean of time.
It’s the looper’s job to kill anyone who appears before them, especially when it is their older self. This is referred to as “closing your loop.”
Once you close your loop, you are free of your contractual obligations to the mob and can live your life as you wish for the next 30 years, at which point you are sent back to be killed by your younger self.
Again, the time travel debates are endless, but writer/director Rian Johnson (previously directed Gordon-Levitt in his first film 2005’s “Brick”) embraces the possible paradox of the two meeting and offers a nearly logical explanation, which I won’t spoil for you.
However, as uniquely gripping as the film is, it does play off on one sci-fi cliché: the dismantled future. It seems that there is no hope for Americans as we devolve into a wild west-type future. Most people appear to be poverty-stricken, and if someone steals from you, take the law into your hands, preferably with a gun.
Yet, in some people’s eyes, this is a frightfully plausible future.
The biggest complaint about this film is not in the story, but in Gordon-Levitt’s makeup. Like Josh Brolin in “Men in Black 3”, Gordon-Levitt sported face-altering makeup to resemble his older counterpart.
His face was a hit or miss from scene to scene, looking realistic in one light and overly computer generated in the next.
Regardless, “Looper” is equally smart as it is full of action. It is well acted and sports a talented cast, including Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Piper Perabo and Jeff Daniels.
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