Autumn (or Fall) is/was upon me (well…us…I suppose) and another rainy Sunday afternoon led me to seek shelter in a near-by cinema. I could always continue my stroll another day and this would be a good opportunity to tick another movie off my check-list I thought.
What an excellent movie Looper turned out to be, I might add. Sorry if my tenses are a bit muxed ip by the way, but the whole subject of time travel has got my thinking even more disorganized than usual.
Ah, of course. If you haven’t come across Looper yet, then you won’t know the basic plot. OK, lemme break it down for ya: the movie’s present is set 30 some years into our future. 2044 to be exact. (With me so far)? The main character Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is kind enough to provide an introductory voice over to set the scene here…
Joe reveals that time travel will be invented in 30 years time (2074). And although immediately outlawed, it’s still used by the criminal element to send those they want killed into the past. “Loopers” being the geezers what do the dirty work. Giving their guests a warm welcome and making sure they’re taken care of. Trust the mob to think of a novel way of disposing of bodies. Bury them in the past, rather than in a ditch. Payment is also delivered along with the victims. Which is kinda neat.
Oh, did I mention that Joe himself is a looper? It may not sound like honest/legal employment, but as the future is kinda run by the mob and they’ve sent people back to set up shop here too; all the bases are covered and it’s kind of a recognized profession. (Plus, moral lines seem to be kinda blurry in 2044 anyway). A man’s gotta earn a crust tho’, right? Any road up. Joe encounters his older self when old Joe (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to be taken care of. Let’s leave it at that, so I don’t spoil the show.
Let me just say that 30 years from now dudes will be riding hover-bikes and doing telekinesis based bar-tricks to impress the chicks. Perhaps, if I continue to live a (fairly) healthy life-style, I may live to see those things. But there’s no way I’ll live to experience 2074 of course. Unless…hmmm…I invent time travel myself…and take the short cut there, whilst I’m still young enough to amble about a bit. Where of course the technology will be immediately outlawed and sold to the highest (mafia) bidder and used for wrong-doing. Now I feel guilty. Or will do. Unless…hmmm…I use my invention to go back and stop myself inventing time travel in the first place. But then I won’t get to see 2074? Doh! ;o)
The film is well written and the characters are well cast/acted. OK, I’m a bit of a science fiction fan, what self-respecting techie isn’t? But to write a neatly packaged tale involving time travel doesn’t strike me as an easy thing to do. So I appreciate how well done this particular one was. Clearly a lot of effort went into writing some great characters on which to hang the plot. My favorites being: Joe (Gordon-Levitt/Willis) as the looper/victim; Seth (Paul Dano) his best mate (also a looper); and my personal favorite Kid Blue (Noah Segan) a bad-guy who tries too hard and invariably f***s things up.
There’s even a nice little cameo from Jeff Daniels as mafia/loopers boss Abe. I don’t know what it is about Daniels, but I usually have trouble looking at his face without the word ‘Dumber’ popping into my melon. So maybe it was the grey in the beard that helped? Emily Blunt (as Sara) acted well, as always. (Doesn’t harm that despite not being a traditional beauty, she still manages to pull off cute quite nicely). There’s also a kiddie role (Cid) from Pierce Gagnon, which was interesting. I’m not sure how old the little guy is; but I always wonder how they get a minor to act out the scary/adult scenes, without them knowing what the heck they’re contributing or indeed what the over-all story-line is? I guess kids’ll do anything for a packet of smarties ;o)
My favorite aspects of this movie included: the characters, the special effects and the whole story-line really. I loved the novel way of delivering messages to the future loopers. The future/past relationships (check out Old Joe’s right ear). I enjoyed the demise of future Seth (and indeed present Seth). And with respect to future Seth, why look for him, when you can get him to come looking for you. The mob is well known for it’s powers of persuasion.
I also loved the mixture of new and traditional technologies. The hover-bike is futuristic, but somehow feels established. They still have regular automobiles, (that’s cars to you kids); so Ford/GM employees will breath a sigh of relief. Plus, I liked the way the Time Machine was fairly understated and the fact that loopers were armed with a blunderbuss rather than some kind of ray-gun. As I said, well written.
My favorite line in the whole movie: “You know there’s another waitress that works here at the weekends. Jen. Less letters”. Doesn’t sound funny now, I know. But give it time. It’s the way you tell ’em and Willis has a better delivery then mine. He is an actor after all.
This movie has got me thinking about time in general. How I spend it and how little I’ve got left. I know I should invest in a Blue Ray player; after all they’re cheap enough. But you’ve really gotta see Loopers on a big-ass screen, with the surround sound cranked to the max. Plus, as a kid I could watch the same movies and listen to the same music over and over again. But, despite most clocks being digital these days; I’m still aware that they’re ticking. I’ve got less time for over and over cycles. Else I’d never have time to fit in new discoveries or indeed new favorites. Blue-ray, bah! I’ll never watch the movies more than once anyway.
Mozart, Dylan and Prince (the artist formerly known as symbol…and before that Prince). Genius singer song writers right? (Mozart just used to hum really loudly apparently). Rian Johnson. Rian who? He’s a writer, director, producer and one talented Fother Mucker, I can tell you that. This is only the 3rd film to his credit apparently. The first film (Brick) also starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was made for under $500k and won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. The second movie (The Brothers Bloom) starred Adrien Brody and Rachel Weisz (meow). I’ve seen neither AFAIK. But I’ll be checking them out now, that’s for sure.
OK, round up time. I’m sure I could look back at this movie and pick the odd hole in it here’n’there. But it’s my review and I don’t wanna. It was a tidy package, from start to finish. The story, direction, pacing and running time were spot on. I’ll give it 5 stars (out of 5 obviously) and a double thumbs up. Then I’ll lean back, stick my feet on the desk and give it a 2 big-toes up too.
(Note to Sarah: they’re called big toes ‘cos they’re fatter. Not ‘cos they’re supposed to be longer).