Max and Kaz review Looper
Y’know, I once met my future self. Yeah, it’s pretty easy actually. All you have to do is decide a time and a place, say ten minutes from now, that you promise to visit if they ever invent time travel. Then wait ten minutes and if your future self doesn’t show up, then time travel won’t be invented in your lifetime. Easy peasy! Unfortunately, I did show up, and therein lies the heartbreak. Apparently my idea for sleek, easy-to-clean, glass dentures wasn’t as big of a hit as I’d anticipated. “A lot of bloody gums and lawsuits”, my words, not mine.
But at least me and myself got to talk about this awesome movie Looper. It’s just too bad that time travel couldn’t be used for something useful, like posting this review three weeks ago when the movie was actually released. But I’m posting it nonetheless, because, and I’m just gonna come right out and say it, I really love this movie! This is one of those really inventive and smart sci-fi films that comes along once in a blue moon. But if you want to hear more about that, you’ll have to travel forward in time slightly, because first I’m gonna tell you guys what this movie’s about.
In the not-too-distant future, The US is in a state of social collapse. The economy sucks, crime is everywhere and some people have even mutated… but enough about Mitt Romney’s potential presidency. How about this movie. So in the year 2074, time travel has been outlawed and is only used by the largest criminal syndicates to get rid of “unwanted baggage”. Thirty years earlier, the people marked for death are killed and disposed of by a group of elite assassins called Loopers. Loopers get paid tons of money, but the number one rule is not to let yourself escape. What I mean by that is, to tie up loose ends, all Loopers must inevitably exterminate their future selves as a form of retirement, and then enjoy the next thirty years as best they can until they eventually get captured and sent back in time to be killed by themselves. So now that nobody’s confused, let’s move on…
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays our main dude who accidentally lets his future self, played by Bruce Willis, get away and must hunt him down take him out before the mob catches up with him. Man, some people just aren’t cut out to murder people daily with the promise of an eventual murder by their own hands. Pheh, Noobs. So anyway, yeah… wackiness ensues.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into why this movie is so great. Well, because I say so, that’s why. But seriously, the reason I love this film so much is because it’s so rich and dense. There are constantly so many things going on, and so many different aspects at play, and so many different character motivations that the film just engulfs you and your eyes are glued to the screen from beginning to end. Had the director not been so competent, this could’ve just ended up as one confusing and boring mess. But the film is so careful to give every different plotline and character a payoff so that nothing feels pointless or shoved in, specifically a plotline that’s hinted at early in the movie and expanded on later. I’m not gonna spoil anything, but those of you who have seen the movie will know what I’m talking about. When they really start to explore this concept about half way through the movie, my reaction was something like, “Aw man! Everything is so tight and well paced. Don’t ruin it by shoving in this totally pointless… Oh my god, that’s awesome!!!” They integrate it into the story so well that is seemed like it was there the whole time.
Another great thing about the really complex and layered plot is the wealth of different emotional rises that the film gets out of you. For instance, there are some moments near the beginning that had me laughing out loud. The character interactions are so smart and such a joy to watch. Especially Jeff Daniels as the boss of all the Loopers and the film’s main bad guy. He’s not in a whole lot of the movie, but he absolutely knocks it out of the park every time he’s on the screen. He’s that kind of bad guy that you ultimately hate, but he’s so witty and cool that you love him at the same time. That’s the mark of a great villain, the guy you love to hate… Or is it, hate to love? Either one really. But then the film goes to these really dark and psychologically disturbing places. When you find out what happens to Loopers who let their future selves get away, it’s so horrifying that I was having trouble watching. But it’s great, because then you’re all the more invested in what’s going on. You really don’t want Joseph Gordon-Levitt to get caught!
I guess the thing that this film was so famous for, even before it came out, was how they used make-up and prosthetics to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look more like a young Bruce Willis. When you saw the trailer, I’m sure you were all thinking like I was, “What the hell’s wrong with Joseph’s face!?! Was he in a car accident!?!”. I’m not gonna say the make-up’s bad; they did the best they could. Most of the time I didn’t notice anything. But in the scenes where JGL and Bruce Willis are just talking to each other, and there are lots of close-ups, it’s kinda distracting. I mean, just look at those eyebrows! Oh my god! Maybe they should’ve just cast Josh Brolin. After seeing Men in Black 3, I’m convinced he can play a younger version of any actor. Hell, as long as we’re on the subject of what-ifs, why not just make this a comedy and cast Donald Glover as a young Bruce Willis! I’d pay to see it!
But I have to say, even though JGL is drowned in a bunch of crap on his face, his acting chops still shine through. Let’s face it, JGL can really only play one character, JGL. But I’m not tired of watching him play that character. Are you? I didn’t think so! However, the performance that really stood out to me was, surprisingly, Bruce Willis. Technically, he’s the same person as JGL, but the struggles he went through and the added motivations of the last 30 years create a whole new character, which, of course, makes it all the more interesting to watch them interact. In the trailer, Bruce Willis is kind of shown to be the bad guy, which isn’t necessarily the case. Sure, he’s doing some pretty despicable things, and the ultimate goal of the movie is to stop him, but you can really see where the guy’s coming from. I’ll talk about this some more later. If you wanna read that you can go into the future etc. blah, blah, blah. For now, I’ll just wrap this up by saying that Bruce Willis is able to pull off some pretty heart-tugging emotions without saying a word. In fact, besides the scene where JGL and Bruce Willis are talking in the diner, Bruce Willis doesn’t have much dialogue at all. Yet, I still think he has the stand-out performance of the movie. There are a lot of other great actors in the movie like Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and some really creepy little kid, but at the risk of boring you guys to death, I’ll just move on.
Like I said before, I attribute most of the really great things about this movie to the director, Rian Johnson. Looper is Johnson’s third film. His first was Brick which I’m a really big fan of. His second was The Brothers Bloom which I’ve actually not seen, but I hear really good things about. In Looper,Johnson really pulls out all the stops though. He creates a really intense and intellectual sci-fi thriller that is one of the better films I’ve seen this year. Everything is so carefully thought out and relevant to the conclusion of the story. For instance, the points I was making about Bruce Willis’ character earlier. In any other movie, Bruce Willis would’ve just shown up, mumbled some mumbo jumbo about why he’s doing what he’s doing and then our heroes would go to try and stop him. But in this movie, we actually see what happened to him. It’s one of the better sequences in the film, where we see JGL kill his future self, get his big payday, and then move on with his life. He goes through some really intense ups and downs until he eventually becomes Bruce Willis who’s sent back in time and so on. I won’t say what happens exactly, but my point is that we actually see it and subsequently feel it. We feel for Bruce Willis’ character and understand his motivations. It’s really kind of heartbreaking and just adds so much depth to the film. All of this… great directing, baby! This, along with Brick is making Rian Johnson one of those really inspired directors who makes films just because he loves the craft. That’s the best kind.
I can’t think of a single thing (besides JGL’s crazy Frankenstein face) that I didn’t love about this movie. The editing and the cinematography are even great! There are things shot from really far away or scenes that are all one continuous shot. It’s pretty mesmerizing. And the whole thing leads up to a conclusion that is so metaphorically perfect… oh man, I can’t even go on. This is such a great movie. It’s one of those films that you’re gonna keep thinking about days after you see it. I LOVE THIS MOVIE!
Well I guess that’s it, the review’s finally done. It’s time for you to go back where you came from Future Max. Oh wait, I almost forgot to ask… I know you’re a penniless wreck in the future, but what about Kaz? Don’t tell me you dragged him down with you… What’s that?… No way!!… Chief Secretary, really!?!… Lousy, stupid, rotten…
Max’s Rating- A