<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Rian Johnson. Starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Xu Qing.
A film that has been eagerly awaited (nowadays you can’t really judge how the film will be from the eagerness of the awaiting!), Looper sets out a storyline that you may not easily follow and has a doozy of a twist at the end which has nothing to do with the central premise of the film.
Does Joseph Gordon-Levitt look a bit strange in Looper? He doesn’t quite look his usual boyish self with the slicked back hair does he? Well that’s because he’s spent hours in the make-up chair (they love saying that) using prosthetics to change his appearance to look more like Bruce Willis, who is his future self in the film. Gordon-Levitt says it was an honour to do that but I still didn’t see any resemblance between the two. That being said, the make-up does make him look manlier so maybe he should keep it on for a while.
Time travel is an oft used device in science fiction but in Looper it simply acts as a mechanical plot point to facilitate a deeper message: what would you tell yourself in the future and what would your future tell you in the present. Simple enough.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a ‘looper’ in the year 2044. So it’s already the future for us. But, people from his future (30 years after 2044) have evolved technology that facilitates time travel, which is used very hush-hush. The mobs of the future use it to transport other bad guys they don’t like to the past (2044) where the loopers shoot them with a blunderbuss immediately on their teleportation. This is so that no evidence of their existence remains in the future (no body no crime). The looper then tears out the compensation – silver bars – from the deceased’s clothes and give it to the looper boss Abe (who’s from the future, played by Jeff Daniels) in return for some cash. Our Joe, being the smart (not) man he is decides to keep half the silver.
The turning point for the loopers comes when a boss from the future called The Rainmaker decides to close all the loops, which means terminating a looper if he lives to an age that coincides with the future 30 years from now. Yes, well, you’ll have to watch it twice now won’t you. See, they’ve learnt from Inception! Though this film isn’t half as entertaining or clever as that relatively overrated movie.
Bruce Willis is happy in the future, he’s gotten a Chinese wife and doesn’t want to be sent back in time to be eliminated. So he manages to overpower (duh) his younger self and sets out on his mission to find the child who ultimately becomes the Rainmaker so that he can live happily in the future. I’m sorta confused now actually so I won’t get into more of the plot.
Did you know that since a Chinese company funded a part of this film, they had to set Joe’s future in Shanghai? That’s even though Joe’s character was supposed to be saving up and learning French to settle down in Paris. But the poor producers didn’t have the money to go there so Chinese company steps in and gives them a solution (or is it a diktat?). And when looper boss Abe asks Joe where he’s heading off to and Joe says ‘Paris’, the boss says: “Go to China. Trust me, I’m from the future.”
Oh and they got the filmmakers to cast a Chinese actor (Xu Qing) as old Joe’s wife. Wow, amazingly smart Chinese. Learn Mandarin kids, not French!
Oh Emily Blunt’s in the movie right. She comes in a bit later cutting a stump of a tree in a field that reminded me of the field in M Night Shyamalan’s Signs. She has a little son (well he doesn’t think she’s his mom, and you’ll find out why) who she wants to protect from the outside world and is also afraid of him; when he gets angry she goes and hides in a big iron safe. Just put him inside it why don’t you?
Anyway, so young Joe (Gordon-Levitt) stumbles across this field and finds her. He’s thirsty and experiencing withdrawal symptoms from the drugs he uses (administered as eye drops). She helps him out a bit and then cuffs him to a bunk bed but mysteriously lets him keep his big ol’ blunderbuss. When he says he won’t leave she lets him remove his cuffs. When he hands her coordinates to her house that old Joe (Willis) gave him she realises someone’s after her son and she fires at young Joe. He does get hit but mysteriously he’s walking about as if a needle has pricked him. Beats me!
So why am I detailing so much. Simply because I can’t understand. The logic and lack of it in Hollywood films nowadays. Even the movie Taken 2, which I just reviewed, was full of holes.
The kid (Pierce Gagnon) – who could easily play a part in a remake of The Omen (yes another remake) – takes a liking to young Joe and helps him out. You see mommy is a TK (telekinetic), which means she can levitate stuff and her son has a bit of twist on that power himself. This part was the only fun thing in the film for me. So in the end this film has nothing really to do with young Joe and old Joe and it morphs from a Terminator-like film to an X-Men sorta film. And of course shots of slo-mo learnt from innumerable other movies will make people go ‘ohhhh’ and ‘wowwww’ and then they’ll be like, ‘Awesome film dude’. I’d rather go and watch Back To The Future or Terminator or X-Men thank you very much.