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I like science-fiction and in particular plots involving time-travel
but with this film was too much put off by the for me, over-complicated
plot and unlike-ability of the lead character in all his incarnations.
That main character, played largely by Joseph Gordon-Leavitt is a futuristic assassin who waits at an appointed place and time in the past to ruthlessly shoot down in cold blood, bound and blindfolded mob victims conveniently sent back in time to be dispatched by time-travel controlling gangsters.This routine of ritual murder was played out too many times for me to be effective and actually ended up being offensive. Moreover, Leavitt's character gives you no other reason to care for or even like him, living a hedonistic drugs and girls-fuelled life-style. Just when you think he's about to show a degree of loyalty to a hunted-down friend and colleague, he obligingly turns him in under hardly the strongest of intimidation by admittedly still imposing gang master Jeff Daniels.
Things get further complicated when he encounters his future-self, played by Bruce Willis, out on a back-in-time mission to take out the infant who has later grown up to be the murderer of his wife. Said child is cooped up in a rambling wooden house Deepintheheartofnowhere,being brought up in between violent mood-swings by his tomboy, gun-toting young mom. The story lines converge around a surprising twist at the end, but not before a lot of hootin' and-a-shootin' takes place.
I tried really hard to keep up with the plot but kept getting skewered by awkwardly-placed events of little apparent relevance or merit, particularly a gratuitous out-of-nowhere sex scene between Leavitt and Blunt, the possible incestuous overtones of which don't bear thinking about.
Like I said earlier, none of the characters evoked any sympathy or even interest in me and I found the violence brutal and over-bearing, deadening my faculties long before the end. It's set up of course for old-hand Willis to steal the show, tooled up like it was the 80's again, but I'm not sure there was much of a show here to steal in the first place.
Since it's a time travel movie, I expected some sort of collision of
characters across time, which of course is a theme of the story. When
it happens however, there is nothing to indicate that it did. Couldn't
the character Joe have perhaps muttered what was happening so we would
know? Maybe discuss it with another character? Couldn't they have used
future Joe that looked like present Joe? Or the same actor with aging
makeup? I do not like movies where you have to figure out everything.
No wait, Its not that I'm lazy. I can solve a mystery. I just need to
know what is and what is not, a clue to the mystery. If the wife and I
are looking at each other saying "how am I supposed to know who this
is", then the director has not done his job.
This not a silent picture, but it might as well be.
Once the future was projected in movies as a colorful and peaceful
environment, where most of the human challenges will come from
encounters with other civilizations and the confrontation with
humanity's own thirst in discovering the Universe and breaking all its
frontiers. Then dark political fiction interfered, as movies like
'1984′ and 'Brazil' brought up to screen the social nightmares of a
world dominated by totalitarianism. Nowadays almost all movies that
deal with the future seem to be dark dystopias that describe the planet
after some kind of atomic, biological or ecological apocalypse, or in
the best case populated by a society that resembles some kind of
Orwellian nightmare. Director Rian Johnson's 'Looper' is no exception,
as the world of 2044 or 2074 in the film is dominated by violence,
human life has lower price than ever, and the technology progress did
not bring to mankind any happiness (neither cleaner streets). Time
travel was invented but quickly forbidden, as organized crime took
over, and as with any forbidden substance or weapon it is the mafia
that controls the illegal trade.
'Loopers' are paid killers whose mission is to execute in cold blood in the year 2044 the victims targeted by the mob of 2074 to die. The trick and the trigger of the story is that 30 years later it may be decided that the looper is the one to die, and then if the sentence is not put in action a loop is created. Loopers are not allowed to feel any mercy, not even to their own self in the future. The smart script of this film, one of the smartest that I have seen lately avoids with the twist of a sentence the hard questions asked when the two instances of the same paid killer (Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meet in one of the scenes that is hard to forget for anybody who saw the film. 'Too complicated, let us not enter the details'. And if details are left apart, this story works perfectly, and the ending makes a lot of sense in a story which could easily get too complicated and too hard to follow.
It's hard to tell from this film that writer and director Rian Johnson is almost a newcomer in the world of Hollywood. Not only the pace of the film is perfectly tuned accelerating and slowing as the story demands, and the cinematography choices he made seem efficient and the story and dialogs create the atmosphere of distrust that lets the viewer ask all the time what is meant by the sequence he watches and what comes next, without explaining things too early or too late there is also something in the realistic style he picks that makes the story credible and the characters resonate with viewers despite the unusual situations they are facing. Bruce Willis proves again that he is much more than an action hero actor (although the fans of Die Hard will find here a few scenes that will remind them their beloved character), Joseph Gordon-Levitt approaches the role with a self-confidence and a palette of nuances that makes me believe that we may have in him another megastar of tomorrow, while Emily Blunt confirms the good vibrations I felt watching her in 'The Adjustment Bureau'. 'Looper' is a more than satisfying action thriller, it's one of the best written, acted and directed films I have seen in the last year.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Looper" cashes in some aspects that are really well executed: Gordon
Levitt is touched with a very nuanced make up to make him look like a
young Willis. Somehow the portrayal of a "asphalt jungle" future has
the condiments of other dystopian films, but fails to explain and
deploy the background of it and has only the immediate effect. And the
action moments are curiously lacking in intensity, in correlating with
Though it does play by the rules it pronounces; "Looper" seems to avoid answering or even clearing the webs that form around plot holes. Time travel is a bitch to treat, and the decision to let go of some key questions seems like less of artistic merit and more of development comfort. Why did Sara know that Joe was a Looper? Why did young Joe convince himself on killing Old Joe while he could simply take the gold that was already packed and safeguard his future by sparing himself? It feels more like we do not care for the questions, than need to know the answers.
Review originally posted on InspirationRation.com - 'Looper' is a
sci-fi action thriller starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The plot revolves around the concept of illegal time-travel. The movie
is set in the year 2044, where time-travel hasn't been invented yet.
But 30 years later, it will have been. It will be immediately made
illegal, but the mob of the future still use it for one simple goal;
body-disposal. When they need someone gone in the future, they simply
send him back, and a 'Looper' in the movie's current time will kill and
dispose of the body. Very 'clean'. This plot device is intriguing, but
in the end it is rather detached from the ultimate direction of the
If you have seen the trailer for 'Looper' I must warn you. There is a strange disconnect between the trailer and the actual movie. This had me somewhat confused for a reasonable portion of the movie, as it really wasn't heading in the direction I was anticipating beforehand. This is in no way a fault of the script or director, simply an unfortunate outcome of my preconceived notions of the film.
The actual movie had somewhat less action and suspense than I anticipated, opting instead for a more slow and deliberate pace. The whole time- travelling angle of the plot was also less involved than I originally gleaned from the trailer, with it being used pretty much exclusively to set the stage for the story. I felt this was slightly off kilter with the premise of the movie. The slower parts of the movie can actually feel somewhat dull at times, rather than suspenseful, which is what I think the director was going for.
There are some very fun aspects of the film though. Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a younger version of Bruce Willis' character adds a few laughs and plenty of impressive make-up effects. The world in which this story is set is very well thought out and crafted with its own impressive style. This radiates throughout the movie, which truly has its own unique identity. This is brought to life with some impressive acting. Bruce Willis is as great as always, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt really stands his own in the lead role, bringing some impressive Bruce Willis impressions and mannerisms to the table. Emily Blunt also impresses with her depiction of the character 'Sara'. The actor that impressed me most however was the little kid who played 'Cid'. I'd wager he is about 6 years old and he gave one hell of a performance in the rather large role he plays in the film. It was really impressive irrespective of his age, but even more so because of it.
'Looper' is the latest in a line of what I call 'Bruce Willis' Sci-Fi adventures'. Examples of previous installments of this are 'The Fifth Element' and 'Surrogates'. It seems Bruce ventures into another sci-fi project every few years, each one with the same basic result; A reasonable movie which is ultimately somewhat forgettable. 'Looper' is no exception, but at least brings a truly unique style to the genre. - Review originally posted on InspirationRation.com
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In reviewing this film I am trying to view it from two different
angles; that of a "mainstream" film goer and that of a sci fi fan. I
fit the description of the latter. For mainstream viewers this movie
will no doubt be an absolute dud. The characters are off-putting - the
main protagonist (in his young and old incarnations) is a cold-blooded
murderer, a point that is repeatedly demonstrated. The rationale for
transporting people back in time to execute them is ridiculous - it is
obviously just a plot contrivance to allow for the situations in which
the "old" and "young" versions face each other. And of course, the time
travel issues injects a further element of total absurdity. As a
"mainstream" movie, then, I'd give this a 5.
However, as a science fiction movie I'd rate it somewhat more highly - maybe a 7. From the start, I had to suspend disbelief regarding the rationale behind the "looper" methodology, but like others here I kept asking, "If the crime syndicate can get away with that much illegal activity, why can't they just kill people in their own time period?" Accepting this plot point was hard work. I also had to put aside the repugnant nature of the main characters. Having consciously pushed these and other problems aside, I found the movie to be engaging and even affecting. Some reviewers have commented on the attempt to make Gordon-Levitt look like Willis, and I don't have a problem with that, other than that the novelty of it was a distraction to an extent (yet it "worked.") The acting was perfect, the envisioning of the future was impressive in that the designers didn't work overtime to create an all-new look, which in a way made sense. (Like people today, those in the 2040s had a fad of wearing clothing from past decades). The "future" also included some "retro" touches - payment in silver bars - reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica in which there is space travel yet telephones have cords. The "retro" touches were a distraction but still, added to appreciation of the film. A couple of other positives: SPOILER - the film turned into so much more than it appeared to be about. I wondered why the telekinesis issue was taken so casually but when it reappeared it did so with a vengeance (calling to mind Carrie, of course, as well as a character in the TV series 4400). Above all, like the "unsung" Back to the Future Part II, with its ever-shifting realities, it was like a very bad dream. The nightmarish quality that permeated it was, I believe, one aspect that made it so effective.
Speaking of other related movies or scenes, MAJOR SPOILER HERE: I was surprised by the ending, even though I instantly thought of "The Butterfly Effect" in which the hero kills himself to stop a series of disastrous events from occurring. Which underscores the fact that this is a very un-Hollywoodish movie - the main protagonists die, and the choice Gordon-Levitt's character makes at the end SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER saves the mother and son but in so doing, imperils the rest of the world as the child is clearly a malevolent force - the future is in for big trouble. I would give the movie extra high marks for not wrapping everything up neatly, Hollywood style. All in all it is extremely flawed, yet I did find it strangely moving.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had remembered seeing previews for this and was pretty excited when
it hit video last week. I wanted to like this film as I generally enjoy
time travel flicks (even with all their inadequacies) and thought the
whole contract killing idea was a neat framework. Sadly, it fell far
below my expectations as an original take on time travel. Furthermore
it didn't even deliver much in the way of excitement, suspense, or any
outstanding performances. Somehow, Looper also managed to be devoid of
any sort of style, preferring to lean on character development as it's
main source of entertainment.
The premise is extremely interesting, but Joe turns out to be a pretty prototypical hit-man. Far too much time is spent on explaining who he is and what he does, and yet we end up knowing nothing about it except that he gets high and frequents prostitutes. His older self is just as bland; we know he was married. Both Joe and Old Joe aren't really given any real humanity and it made it hard for me to really care what happened because there was absolutely no connection made between the audience and our main character(s). Bruce Willis didn't even really need to be in this film as Old Joe didn't represent an emotional being at all.
When the film really gets going, with the TK boy, it still fails to impress. Little actual tension is created I didn't much care about the sort of stilted, clinically precise version of this young child that was presented. The mother was the only character able to generate any sympathy and only so far as I understand how protective a single parent feels over a child that age.
The big plot twist was the most disappointing aspect of the movie to me. While I know a lot of people out there are praising how well the time travel mechanic was handled and how it actually "makes sense" in this film, it's really nothing new to anyone who's even had a passing interest in time travel and read up on the many user-friendly, math free theoretical plausibility and possibilities of time travel. What Looper does in order to have the film "make sense" on a superficial level is introduce a closed loop. An interesting facet proposed about time travel is that if it is possible, then time isn't really changed; if someone traveled back in time then that's actually what happened back then.
For instance if I traveled back to 1981 and had coffee with your 20 year old self, then now you would see a picture of me and remember having coffee with me 32 years ago just as I look now. It always happened that way. Where this gets tricky is when you have a "closed loop," as it's called in time travel parlance. (No real relation to the "closing your loop" term used in the film, although perhaps a bit of foreshadowing.) A closed loop is when an event in the past causes an event in the future that goes back in time and causes the initial event in the past. Sure, it's a clever little device to throw into a film, but it makes no more sense than any other time travel paradox. To put the concept in simpler terms, imagine that I have a book of all of Shakespeare's work. I have this because he wrote it hundreds of years ago. But lets say I go back in time, before he wrote anything, and took this book with me. Now let's say I give him this volume and tell him to do what he wants with it, and I return to my present time. What we have here is all of Shakespeare's work that has no origin. I only have it because he wrote it, and he only wrote it because I had it to give him, he had it because I gave it to him. It's cyclical, and because of the laws of conservation of matter and energy, it is impossible for this to exist without a point of origin. If my dad gives me a knife in 2010, I go back in time and give it to him in 1990 for him to give me in 2010, then the knife is never actually created.
The fact is that it's impossible to try and be sensible about time travel. By virtue of being impossible (as we know of) it is also incomprehensible and incompatible with our view of time. Therefore I think the best a film can aspire to is to be entertaining. Looper tries too hard to be a time travel movie for the thinking man, but it falls on the same problems as other movies of the type and fails to genuinely entertain in the process.
Looper is a movie that's been on my radar for quite some time. It's
about mafia-types who are involved in time travel for the sake of
eliminating unwanted "garbage," and it features both the formidable
Bruce Willis and Nightwing himself, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Because I
don't have quite as much free time as I used to, I had to skip this one
in theaters. When it finally trickled down the DVD/Blu-ray format
earlier this week, however, I was all over it.
This is the perfect example of a movie that quietly made its way into cinemas without having an overabundance of pomp and circumstance paving the way. I'd taken a fleeting interest in it upon reading about the movie's story line, but it wasn't until a multitude of friends took to Facebook in order to sing its unparalleled praises that I genuinely took interest. And, I have to say, though solidly crafted it is, I found the movie to be a bit of a letdown. Let me explain why.
With any time travel flick, one expects there to be plenty of mind- bending timelines that crisscross with one another (heck, they may even congeal into something indecipherable in the final moments, but the goal is to keep the audience playing the "prediction" game throughout). While Looper does this, I found it far too easy to foresee how things would play out (this was in stark contrast to 12 Monkeys, Willis' other time travel movie). To delve into the specifics of this would put me at risk of including spoilers in my review, so suffice it to say that, though well written, there was nothing Earth-shattering about our protagonists' concluding revelation. Another point of contentionand one that has been widely discussed, I believewas the decision to drown JGL in make-up so as to make him resemble a young Willis. At times, it works, but more often than not I found it nearly impossible to not envision the actor with his true face. Would it have been better to simply allow JGL to be, well, himself, and to sparingly use CGI to fill in the awkward transition moments during his character's life? I don't know. Still, I can't ignore the fact that the make-up was more of a distraction than a boon.
Actually, I think Looper's greatest strength is its focus on the development of telekinesis as a part of the human genome in the not too distant future. Some of the film's best moments come as a result of this plot point, and I wish a little more focus on this would have been the order of the day.
Please don't misunderstand me. Looper is far better than the vast majority of drivel that Hollywood allows to make it past the stages of early drafting, and it makes for perfectly good viewing for anyone who enjoys sci-fi. Just don't expect it to rewrite history.
Despite the childish name, this isn't a kid's movie. It's a violent
action packed sci-fi film which will test your patience. I don't want
to say too much about the plot else it could really ruin the film for
you, as it's all about the surprises. The basic idea is that our lead
is involved in killing people sent from the future to the past to
remove trace of them! As you expect, this system breaks down along the
way and we have a chat on our hands.
Surprises galore as said and some fine acting for a sci-fi movie keep our attention. Taking in the elements of time travel you will find plenty of loopholes (no pun intended) but suspend your disbelief. It does lag at points but will retain your interest.
Some will have a problem that it is derivative but that is being churlish. You'll find it has influences and parallels from too many to be deemed a copy: Inception, Blade Runner, Carrie, Terminator, Jumper, Donnie Darko and even Back to the Future amongst others. Possibly the truth may also be coincidence in some parts.
Overall, a fair movie. The director has had the confidence to make a movie that is testing and interesting. It will definitely raise some interesting ethical questions for viewers to ponder in that sense is worth a watch. Got the makings of a cult viewing movie I think.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Looper is one of thought- provoking movies in recent years. Although it
has some defects in the story plot, it is overall entitled to a slick
piece of good sci-fi film. ( not a masterpiece ) The story to some
extent is hard to fathom the whole backgrounds and implications. It
irks me to try to understand why this happens, how this comes from. The
whole premise of the film is not satisfactorily explained. For example,
the background of 2074 society and gangs which send "loopers" to 2044
to deposit dead bodies make me confessed. Meanwhile, the 'Rainmaker',
as well as his mother, are not fully explained and how do they relate
to the time traveling. And the "Bruce Willis style", like the Die Hard
and the Expendables is not necessarily extended so long. "Looper" is
not an action, but a sci-fi. The most fatal part is time-traveling
paradox. Present Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Future Joe (Bruce
Willis) are messed up. Their relationship in general is very hard to
fathom and lacks in verisimilitude.
As many reviewers said, Looper is a stunningly original sci-fi masterpiece. I agree to certain extent. Even if there are some defects, Looper is still vastly superior to any of the higher profile action released in recent years. Present Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) adds bonuses to the film through his vivid performances, along with typical Bruce Willis's action style.
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