I went to see Looper opening weekend at my local theater. Between that time and now I’ve had a lot of different thoughts and attempts to process my feelings concerning the movie and the way it was handled by the director, Rian Johnson. To sum it up in as few of words as I am able, it was incredi-awesome. That is, so good it is an amalgamation of incredible and awesome in a singular word.
One of the best decisions made by the director/writer was to limit the focus of Time Travel. Instead of being a major factor in the overall story, that is focusing so much time and effort on time travel that the story and characters suffer, it is described, explained, and passed on in favor of developing these wonderful and engaging characters.
Speaking of which, the characters. Let me stop and say Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as a young Bruce Willis, was uncanny. I found myself laughing and smiling as Levitt portrayed the small mannerisms, the squinted eyes, small chuckle laugh, that are so distinctly Bruce Willis, and he did it near flawlessly. It was kind of crazy to think about.
The character these two amazing actors play, Joe Simmons, is a Looper. Basically a modern-day assessing hired out by the organized crime of the future to assassinate their targets and dispose of the bodies. Loopers are paid in bars of silver strapped to their targets backs. When a target arrives bearing bars of gold the Looper realizes they’ve just killed their future selves, this is referred to as “closing your loop.” Meant as a way to tie up loose ends, it’s at this point the Looper is given 30 years to live their lives and spend their silver and gold as they please before being captured and sent back. As seen in the trailers the main plot of the movie revolves around Joe Simmons, as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, hunting down his future self, Bruce Willis, whose escaped from his attempted murder by self.
The setting is a semi-dystopic future, but frighteningly enough, one that seems entirely plausible and believable in the next 20-30 years. Cars and buildings are jerry-rigged with solar panels and other means of alternate fuel. Drugs are still out in force along with the night life of those with access to a lot of money and little responsibility. Glass panels and touchscreen devices litter the area in an odd juxtaposition to the dirt and grime of other aspects of the locale.
There is a small addition to the movie that I hadn’t heard of or seen in any of the trailers and which is introduced fairly early on. I won’t spoil anything but keep a look-out as it will play a bigger role than you might think.
Looper is probably one of the first science-fiction movies I can say that definitively do Time Travel justice in a believable and exciting way, Back to the Future not withstanding. If you haven’t had a chance to see this movie yet, go. It is well worth the price of admission and the perfect show to catch with a good friend.