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In the year 2044, a man working for a group of killers called "Loopers" (they work for the mob and kill people who are sent blindfolded back in time from the year 2074 by their bosses) recognizes a victim as himself. He hesitates resulting in the escape of his older self. Written by
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Time travel has not yet been invented. But thirty years from now, it will have been. It will be instantly outlawed, used only in secret by only the largest criminal organizations. It's nearly impossible to dispose of a body in the future... I'm told. Tagging techniques, whatnot. So when these criminal organizations in the future need someone gone, they use specialized assassins in our present called "Loopers." And so, my employers in the future nab the target, they zap them back to...
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This time travel crap; just fries your brain like an egg "
Time travel films open up all manner of questions because of the paradoxes every action and reaction produce. If X occurred, surely Y would happen, which means X wouldn't happen after all And so it is with Looper.
Alas, to avoid dishing out hugely unpopular plot spoilers I need to skirt around the concerns, so you'll just have to come round with cake and we can discuss it in private. But there are some pretty substantial issues with Looper that cause questions to be asked and lead to more than a couple of possible explanations as to what exactly is going on. Don't see it alone; you'll need a friend around to discuss it on the journey home.
Equally, don't be put off. You don't need to be Einstein to enjoy Looper, as some of the audience proved
In 2072, time travel is both possible and illegal and murder is more easily solved because corpses are harder to lose. However mobs and Mafiosi types are prevalent and have ingeniously devised a solution: tie your victim up and send him back in time to a location where a looper will be waiting to blow his/her brains out. However, when a looper's contract is up, they find themselves blowing the brains out of their older self. Except when looper Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) stares down the barrel at a version of himself that is thirty years older, Old Joe (Bruce Willis) outsmarts him and so begins a cat and mouse chase where there are multiples of each species and most of them aren't called Joe.
Confused? Good. Don't think any more or you'll confound yourself with your wondering and wandering along all the possible flows and tributaries that lead from them. Like, Is he actually... Dammit.
Along with the quirks, possibilities and matters left to interpretation, there are one or two clear boo-boos that cut against the rules writer/director Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) has set himself. I'm sure you can work out from the subject matter that there are occasional murders so I'm giving nothing away by stating that a particular murder in 2027 cuts against the rules. It's not a major problem in terms of enjoyment but it does cast a shadow over everything if minor errors are not avoided.
There's only one way to watch Looper: suspend all disbelief, put your logic in stasis and get on with enjoying the romp. With that frame of mind employed, it's a superb film. No, it's not as intelligent a film as Inception, but it kicks the ass of Wanted and Gordon-Levitt is potentially a bigger star in the making than either Leonardo DiCaprio or James McAvoy.
I'm not sure that I buy Gordon-Levitt as a young Willis but the transition is simple and effectively executed and it needn't stand in the way of a couple of hours of great entertainment. He's matured as an actor and, though he's been stamping around Hollywood for a good couple of decades, it's the last five years or so that have really seen him ascend the ranks and there's no sign of his climb slowing with both Spielberg's Lincoln and Don Jon's Addiction (which he also wrote and directed) in the can and Premium Rush earning plaudits on both sides of the Atlantic.
As for Willis, it's good to see him earning his fee again in a film worthy of his presence rather than phoning it in for a fat wad in the truly awful The Expendables 2. Emily Blunt (Sara) and Jeff Daniels ably provide support, the former, sadly, barely stretched and the latter, as Abe, the loopers' boss, clearly enjoying himself. Equally, Paul Dano gives a wonderful, trademark sniveling wretch performance that is all too brief. But Looper belongs to Gordon-Levitt and One Tree Hill's Pierce Gagnon as the child, Cid, whose middle name is probably Damian. Unnerving is an understatement!
There is a very strong argument that the best person to direct a film is the writer because s/he knows it better than anyone. Clearly that wasn't the case with Maximum Overdrive (Stephen King being the fine writer who should never be allowed either in front of or behind a camera again) but with Looper it's a very strong case in point.
Johnson, though he bends his rules, has created a multi-layered, rapidly paced trip that is littered with bodies and to-die-for quips, to wit, "I cleaned you up. And put a gun in your hand." He juggles the time zones effortlessly and maintains the excitement while allowing sufficient moments for us to pause, cogitate and catch up before whipping us to the next sprint, jump or shoot-out. Though he has nothing (publicly) on the slate, there'll be plenty more from him in the next few years.
As is increasingly the case, my biggest complaint with last night's viewing has nothing to do with the film itself but with the screening, namely the blown speakers all along one side of the auditorium (big thumbs down to Cineworld) and the moron in front who played with his phone and gave muted shrieks of excitement every time there was a shot or splatter of blood, even taking the time to relive it with his friend. Who are these people? Why are they allowed to breathe? When will time travel come to my aid? Ah, but these are niggles and hopefully you won't be subjected to such when you watch Looper. And do see it. Maybe you'll absolutely hate the confusion it causes you, but if you don't mind giving a film some real thought and you enjoyed the possibilities of Inception, then Looper is for you.
Just don't think too hard. As Abe laments, "This time travel crap; just fries your brain like an egg "
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