Looper: You are your worst enemy, and vice versa
By Jayson Burns
It is not uncommon for a movie’s trailer to be met with a great amount of hype and anticipation; Looper is no exception. More often than not, however, the trailer is far better than the actual film. Still, the plot seemed intriguing enough for a look, and though it has a few problems it manages to be worth the price of an admission ticket.
By the year 2074, mankind has mastered time travel; but because it is outlawed by the government, only the mafia has access to it. Whenever an agent of theirs needs to be eliminated, they send them back to the year 2044, where a “Looper” kills him and disposes of the body in exchange for bars of silver. Joseph Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one of these Loopers, but when the time comes for him to eliminate his future self (their form of retirement) he fails, letting the 30-years older Joseph (Bruce Willis) loose in 2044 with his own agenda. With only a few hints at his disposal, future Joseph plans to hunt down the Rainmaker, the person responsible for starting this time travel-execution process, while he/she is still a child. With his employers hunting him down for his failure, present Joseph must find himself (literally) and try to put everything right once again.
Films about time travel really have to be careful, otherwise people will tear them apart for every little inconsistency they can find. Fortunately, Looper doesn’t suffer from this too much and everything hangs together pretty well; when young Joseph gets his ear clipped by a bullet, older Joseph suddenly has a chip in his ear. What works in this story is that neither version of Joseph was a perfect protagonist. Both of them were selfish (and brutal) in their own ways, but they were still given enough development to make you want to cheer for both. I also really liked the fact that not all of the villains in the movie are portrayed as heartless bad guys, considering many of them just consider it “business.” I would’ve liked to have known more about the men behind the time machine, though.
There was really nothing to complain about when it came to the acting in Looper. Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt both portray their characters strongly, especially considering all of the difficult choices they have to make throughout the film. I really liked how they treated each other with contempt, showing just how different the future Joseph had become in comparison to his younger self. Maybe they were too different, but their performances were great regardless. Emily Blunt as Sara is good too, even though at times she seemed a little odd, like when she yells at young Joseph when he trespasses on her farm. Playing Sara’s son, Pierce Gordon actually shows a great deal of emotion, but it was still hard to accept he was supposed to be ten years old.
Something that can be really annoying whenever a film is set in the “not-too-distant future” is when humanity has some amazing, ground breaking pieces of technology, and yet many things still look like they belong in modern times. Sure, even today we have people driving cars that were made a long time ago, but when cellphones are little glass slates and yet everything else looks familiar, something has to be said. And while the special effects were far from horrible, there were still too many times when I could tell the actors were in front of a green screen, especially when they were driving. Still, the movie looks up to speed with modern expectations, and the effort put into making Gordon-Levitt look like a young Willis was admirable.
With an interesting concept, Looper should attract science fiction and action fans alike.