A time travel movie that forgoes the mechanic in favor of Bruce Willis action.
September 29, 2012 4:23 pmTerry Yates
Looper is a movie about time machines and time travel about as much as the Transformers movies are about cars. In fact, Old Man Joe (Bruce Willis) is annoyed at the mere thought of having to describe the mechanics to his younger self. It’s a means to an end, and oddly enough the time machine in this film is about as elegantly built as the one in Primer.
Joseph Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper, hired guns for the future mafia. In the future, killing people is super hard, luckily someone invented time travel. Unfortunately, time travel is instantly made illegal so only the mafia is able to use it to send back unwanteds that the Loopers kill and dispose of. You can’t really think too hard about the edges of the narrative framework, as with most time travel movies, without it starting to fray a tad.
Someone more evil than the mafia, aptly named “The Rainmaker”, has taken over the future mafia’s five families and has started cleaning house. Then he starts having Loopers’ future selves sent back to be killed, closing the loop. This part of the background narrative is very interesting and makes a lot of sense as the movie comes to a close. Which can’t be said for some of the movie.
Looper’s opening hour or so is perfectly paced, even as it explains the world and introduces characters. Gordon-Levitt, in some slight prosthetic face make-up, has a pitch perfect Bruce Willis impersonation. It’s really uncanny, until the actual Bruce Willis shows up. Then the focus becomes about how one man can wholly represent two different characterizations and motivations when time erodes them.
Old Man Joe has come back in time to try and save his future wife, who saved him from his life of drugs and crime. It’s classic motivation, and Bruce Willis plays it well. Old Man Joe doesn’t waste much time trying to get Young Joe on his side, and when Young Joe doesn’t cotton to the plan, he goes off on his own. The plan: kill “The Rainmaker” as a young child, and Joe’s life will go back to some kind of normalcy.
The whole killing the three kids that may be “The Rainmaker” plan is some really dark narrative matter, but Old Man Joe isn’t all callous and cold about it, after killing the first child he does have a little cry. However, the movie does little to make “The Rainmaker” enough of a bad guy to warrant the children’s murders. Sure they show him blowing up parts of future Kansas City and terrorizing Loopers, but that’s mostly background noise in the film and never a focus.
In a meeting at a diner that goes south, Young Joe manages to snag a piece of Old Man Joe’s map of the three locations that may be the young “The Rainmaker”’s. Young Joe uses the map to wander upon a farm where a young woman named Sara (Emily Blunt) lives with her son Cid. This is where the film really grinds to a halt, and doesn’t ever pick up again. Emily Blunt isn’t very convincing as a tortured young woman trying to make right, although the young boy playing Cid is eerie and plays the creepy kid with telekinetic powers superbly.
Knowing that Old Man Joe will eventually show up, Young Joe works out a plan with Sara to wait for him and kill him. Eventually this does come to pass, Cid is “The Rainmaker” who has super telekinetic powers, and when he’s scared he flips out and telekinesis’s the shit out people, places and things. Young Joe realizes that this very scenario of killing a young Cid, is what makes “The Rainmaker” the evil asshole he is. So, he shoots himself, and Old Man Joe vanishes before he can kill Cid.
In reviewing this movie, I failed to mention other characters that populate the film, which goes to show how unimportant they really are to the overall plot of the movie. Jeff Daniels plays Abe, a future mafia boss sent back in time to run things. Daniels kind of sleepwalks through the role and is fine. Piper Perabo is Young Joe’s love interest Suzie, and while she does parent one of the three children that Old Man Joe is after, she’s also pretty useless, aside from showing her boobs in an early scene. Noah Segan’s Kid Blue is perhaps supposed to be a red herring for “The Rainmaker”, before to long it’s made apparent that that isn’t the case, and he takes up more time than he should after it’s made apparent that he’s not really going to amount to anything plot wise.
That being said Looper is a great film, it’s just got a bit too much padding and needless characters up in the running time.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING||3.5|