I must say, when I saw the trailers for this movie I was sold from the moment that I heard Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the starring role. He did a great job in Inception and really shines in The Dark Knight Rises so I’m glad to finally see him take the lead role. The project sounds ambitious, and you’re tempted to fall into the notion that it’s just a popcorn action film. Nope.
The movie is really plot driven. If you are not a fan of movies with time travel paradoxes then stay away from this one.
As all science fiction movies go, this one has to start with some exposure. While it does that, it plays with the some very exotic world-building geekery stuff in the background. Pay attention to everything in this movie. It is a near future, so things are recognizable and you can tell by rusted cars with solar panels and technology both sparse but advanced. Economy is still in the hands of the wealthy and there’s poverty present and abundant. Yet this is not exposed, just presented and very obvious.
It’s not a light movie. Forget the date and the popcorn. Take your geek club, the guys you talk comics or sci fi or discussed Inception with. If you have friends that like to talk during the movie or keep asking you “why did that happen” go alone.
Joe is a Looper. If you’ve seen the trailer or heard about the movie, they’re killers who dispose of the people the mob from the future want dead. Time travel is possible one way only. It’s illegal in the future, so mobsters use it to send people 30 years in the past where the technology doesn’t exist. The catch is that the looper gets to retire when his own future self is sent back to the past, and you know this by the gold bars instead of the silver bars that the tied up and hooded victim has attached to its back. Killing your future self means closing the loop, and from then you can give yourself a life of even more leisure until the day arrives you get to travel back and get killed.
The plot eventually turns as Future Joe appears. This is Bruce Willis, far more experience and capable than his future self and with a mission. Strangely the mission will eventually become more important than the paradox of both Joes facing each other. Present Joe suddenly will face a moral conundrum as he realizes Future Joe is on a mission. I don’t want to give that away, so I’m going to just say it involves Sarah, played by Emily Blunt, and her kid.
The pace in the beginning changes completely once we move settings to the country. The story is not a hurry once it gets to where we think we know what is about to go down, and that’s a good thing. There’s a lot of characters at the beginning that get disposed off before the movie moves on to the inevitable showdown, as the plot completely shifts away from Joe’s past life to his current dilemma.
Details are very carefully followed through. Joe uses recreational dugs that he administers via eyedrops. We see this earlier in the film but the fact that he goes through major withdrawals later is a sign that continuity was not sacrificed in this film. I don’t think everyone is going to come out liking this film, but the script is one solid plot with a very easy to follow attention to detail.
Science fiction is sometimes done too flashy too fast, and everyone seems to have gadgets galore as if money is not an obstacle. I love when it when a few movies such as Looper slow down the pace and bring the focus back to what is important: the story.
It is not a perfect execution. Although I’m tempted to give it a high praise based on the more comfortable pace and less hurry to bring us to countless action shots like other movies, I will have to say it is a bit unsatisfying overall. There are not as much plot holes as avenues to be explored that kinda just leave us there. I didn’t buy the relationship between Future Joe and his nameless wife. I never saw passion there. The transition scenes in which Joe being Joseph Gordon-Levitt becomes Future Joe, Bruce Willis, lack a missing link. The ending is anti-climatic.
The biggest drawback will be the slow pace for those expecting an action packed film. For those expecting a great story, I’d say it’s worth a watch at least once.
That will do for now.