Friday, October 19, 2012

Looper (2012) Review

Looper poster
Director: Rian Johnson
Stars: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Paul Dano
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

EDIT: I re-watched it again in theaters (I didn't pay for the ticket) and it pretty much sucked. I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote this review. All the charm wore off on a second viewing and all the incosistincies and plot-holes became so much more obvious. Very average film. You can pretty much disregard the entire following review bellow, but there's still some truth in it. Maybe just read the bold text. Updated rating: 2.5 out of 5. 

I honestly thought I would hate this film. I don't know, it just seemed like more of the same typical science fiction we've been seeing in the last ten years, and it kind of is, but it's very well done. So, I did, for the most part, like it.

The film takes place in 2044. In 2074 time travel is invented and immediately outlawed, and the only people that have access to it are big time criminals. Apparently in 2074 it is extremely hard to dispose of a body (for reasons never stated) so instead criminals in 2074 use time travel to send people to 2044 and be killed and disposed of. The people who do these killings, in 2044, are called loopers.

After thirty years every looper is killed by the criminals (again the reasoning doesn't make much sense, but apparently it's to avoid association). So, every looper much eventually "close the loop" and has to kill their future selves.

If all that is a bit confusing then go watch the trailer or something.

One of the only real problems I have with the film are its plot-holes and inconsistencies. There are aplenty and probably some I even missed. I'll only mention a few. If you haven't seen the film you might as well skip the next paragraph or two. (1) Why do loopers have to kill themselves? Can't the criminal organization just send them to a different looper to be killed? Sure, they won't get their gold payment but I'd imagine it'd avoid a lot of problems, i.e., everything that happened in the film. (2) Why does the criminal organization have to kill them after thirty years anyway? They give a reason, but couldn't a looper just snitch on them before thirty years or leave a message for the police or something? (3) Where the hell are the police? All these killing and explosions and stuff and I didn't see a single fucking cop or even hear a mention of concern about the police.

If you can look past all the plot-holes and unanswered questions though, it's a real great film. The plot though, in theory, is pretty good.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Looper

I can't say all the characters were well developed, because they weren't. But one thing that was done well was the fact that the film has no clear antagonist. I mean, you can understand where all the characters are coming from. You get that Joseph Gordon-Levitt just wants his life back to normal, and Bruce Willis wants to be back with his wife, or that mother just wants to protect her son. They're all understandable, yet they all contradict each other and they can't all get what they want.

It wasn't a story of good versus evil (although the criminal organization was evil and essentially the reason behind it all, although that one guy, Abe, was pretty likable). So sure, it does have evil and it does have good, but it's not the focus. When it comes down to it it's a man fighting himself...literally. At times I was actually rooting for Bruce Willis, and at other times for JGL. So, I just think it's really cool how the film doesn't have a clear antagonist, or at least not a stereotypical one.

There's no character that you completely hate (except for Kid Blue). Though the main character (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was kind of an asshole. He did, after all, allow his best friend to get killed just so he could keep his silver. I mean, talk about a d-bag. I wish they kind of dealt with the morality of it more.

The characters themselves were only decent though and never really fleshed out properly. And there was a brief romance going on, but fortunately it didn't last long.

Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Looper

Also, what the hell was with all that make-up on Joseph Gordon-Levitt? While watching I wasn't even sure if it was him or not.

There's some really stereotypical action parts though. Like Bruce Willis taking out an entire building of armed assassins with two P90s. But, he's Bruce Willis so I guess it makes sense.

The world is somewhat believable. We don't get to see much of it though, only bits and pieces, but what there is is pretty good. I found it kind of a let-down that half of the film takes place on a fucking farm house. For a film about cool futuristic stuff it's kind of odd that most of it took place on a farm.

I must compliment the sound in here. They really let you hear every noise that's happening. The soundtrack was good, but the sound work really complimented the film well. From car doors opening to paper being torn. It's just real neat.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Kid Blue in Looper

The second half of the film has some weird supernatural elements going on, but I didn't really mind. In my opinion the second half was nowhere near as good as the first. Mostly because it took place completely on a fucking farm.

A lot of people disliked the ending. I actually liked it. I won't spoil anything but I thought it worked. It managed to be powerful, thought-provoking, and, for me, satisfying.

Definitely one of the better sci-fi flicks of the year, and worth the watch.

Recommended for: fans of cast or director, fans of time travel films or sci-fi in general

4/5 stars
+More than just a story of Good vs. Evil
+Keeps you compelled and interested
+Solid ending
+Great use of sound
-Undeveloped characters
-Plot-holes and unanswered questions
-Could of better utilized the futuristic setting

Purchase Looper on Amazon: Blu-Ray - DVD 

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