Sunday, 30 September 2012

Looper 2012

I'm befuddled why so many reviewers are making it sound like Looper is a very confusing sci-fi, time-travel story, when really it is not. Writer-Director Rian Johnson has made sure that everything that could ever confuse you about the science of time-travel is either kept to a minimum or explained in painful detail through the voice-over narration by the main character, Joe. I'm worried that people who are reviewing this film have never seen a sci-fi film before, and this, coming from someone who's not even a sci-fi fan!

The story mostly takes place in the US in 2044. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a well-paid specialist assassin, known as a Looper. A Looper's job is to assassinate marks that are sent by a crime syndicate from the future, that is, 30 years from the 'current' time', leaving no trace of the body or the murder in the year 2074. For this, they get paid handsomely in silver. And one day, they have to 'close the loop', or have to kill their own future self, for which they get paid in gold and are instantly retired from their profession, to live as they please for the next three decades. Failure to close the loop, results in gruesome death for both the assassin and the mark (and I really mean gruesome). So, when older Joe (Bruce Willis) shows up as the mark, current Joe has no intention of letting him go, but obviously that is not how it plays out. And thus, an action-filled chase begins where both 'Joe's fight for their own survival, while trying to get the other to understand the choices they are making.

This is definitely an interesting story, and has been told in an efficient manner. Of course, I have many unanswered questions. For one, the whole concept of sending someone back in time to be killed because it's not easy to get rid of a body in the future, feels a bit shaky when we actually see a murder happening in the future without the killers even pausing to think. Also, if the whole idea of 'closing the loop' is so problematic, why make loopers kill their future selves? Why not get another looper involved?

And finally, and this is the only spoiler, which would make sense if you have seen the film: the entire premise of the Bruce Willis character's mission to kill the child is baseless - because if Bruce Willis exists, then Joe managed to kill him in the last round (and we see that happening), so the child's mother was not killed by Bruce Willis in the last round and he shouldn't have grown up to be the Rainmaker at all. And if there's no Rainmaker in the future, then we have no film! OK, that bit is confusing, but that's because it's a flaw and the reviewers aren't really picking up on this just yet!

It is good to see Bruce Willis toting a gun again and looking slightly John McClane-esque. Also, he's obviously very comfortable with these time-travel set-ups, after Twelve Monkeys (1995) and well, The Kid (2000)!! Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a  good job too - but the prosthetic nose and flattened mouth are quite distracting. He does the best he can, but at times, he himself seems distracted by his make-up. Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels pull their weight and Pierce Gagnon gets pretty creepy. So, all in all the cast is more than capable and the pace of the film is consistent. It's a well-executed effort, and despite the holes in the story, the film holds the audience's attention and interest.

Definitely recommended, especially if the genre rocks your boat. Otherwise, it's a decent action film, but not exactly destined to become the next Terminator...

Note: Some of my questions answered, but not really answered, by the director. This is full of spoilers, so no point reading it unless you have seen the film:


  1. Good review Sornaya. The plot makes perfect sense even if it may seem a bit confusing at first, and the suspense draws you in but something just did not mix so well in the end. I didn’t really care all that much for the characters and that’s sort of why the pay-off didn’t do much for me.

    1. Thanks dude! And yeah, I get the not caring for the characters...I honestly didn't care about Cid and Sarah at all...and not too much about Joe either...but it was still a film worth watching and talking about, which is something we agree on.