Loopers

September 30, 2012 2 Comments

Rating:  7/10

A current self and a future self go into a bar.  Or something like that.

Rian Johnson’s sci-fi thriller sets us up to ponder the complications/opportunities to meet up with ourselves forward/backwards?  Is redemption possible?  Is everything we do determined?  What is our responsibility given such constraints?

Loopers are young men (in this film, for some unexplained reason, there are no female loopers) who escape the bleakness of current reality by hiring themselves as hitmen.  Only, time travel has been invented sometime in the near future, banned by the government and filched by the mob, who use it to eliminate “problems.”  Loopers stand in empty corn fields and execute time traveled victims.  Unfortunately, the job has a finite period and retirement in the traditional sense is not an option.  Loopers are eventually required to execute themselves (who are returned from the future for this purpose.)

Confused?  Good.  This is where the film is at its best. Joseph Gordon Levitt is a young version of himself (Joe) who is required to kill his old version played by Bruce Willis.

Willis and Gordon Levitt are very cool together as versions of each other and the mental wrapping around we are invited to do is fun.  Jeff Daniels is a bonus bad guy who provides a chilling sense of normal to a very sinister character. There is conflict and turmoil as Joe races to make some alterations in his doomed future.

The weaknesses in the film come in the later portion.  There is a child who may or may not grow up to be the treacherous monster “Rainmaker” and just happens to be the only son of Sara, the (of course) love interest of Joe.  Is it permissible to destroy a child who MAY grow up to be a monster?  Interesting question that I believe is diluted by some cheesy special effects at the end of the film.

I am even more reluctant than usual to reveal aspects of this film, since so much of the enjoyment relies on being sucked into the premise.

There seems to be an odd premise to the film:  ALL is possible with the love of a good woman. (yeah us, but what pressure!)  Bruce Willis (old Joe) turns his life around that way, as does Gordon Levitt (young Joe) who melts under the care of Emily Blunt.  Global decimation can be avoided if the REALLY BIG bad guys get enough hugs as children.  Is this a subtle form of mom-blaming? (Just a question).  Did Hitler really just need a few more hugs?

The film raises many questions and is compelling for the first third.  Critics have raved about the film.  The audience that saw it with me chuckled and laughed at times that were not supposed to be funny.  (The director does play a bit with the whole time travel idea, to be sure.)

This is a movie that has received a lot of buzz.  Unless you can send your future self forward to watch it and tell your current self whether it is worth the time and expense–it remains a Must See Movie.      Jolyn Wagner

Must See Movie of the Week
2 Comments to “Loopers”
  1. Bruce Russell says:

    I haven’t seen this film, but I wanted to let all of you know that John Carroll of North Carolina State U. is giving a talk titled, “Three Paradoxes of Time Travel,” Oct. 18 at 4:00 p.m. in the Bernath Auditorium in the Adamany Library on the campus of Wayne State. It’s geared to a general audience and, I suspect, will discuss some time travel films like “Back to the Future.” Here’s one paradox: if you can travel back in time, then you could kill your parents. But if you did, you would never be born. If you were never born, you could not exist later to travel back in time.

    My graduate students have been talking about Looper. I have to see it.

    And wouldn’t it be obligatory to kill someone you KNEW would turn into a Hitlerian monster?

    The relation between determinism and moral responsibility is one of my favorite philosophical questions.

    I have to see this film (or did I say this earlier?)

  2. Bruce Russell says:

    UGH! A bad typo in the previous note: the lecture is Friday, Oct 19!

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