Monday, October 08, 2012

"Looper" (2012) - Movie Review

The future in “Looper” is how it will be in 30 years. I am quite sure about it. It has the element of realism in a manner that does not happen in recent science fiction films. As majority of them rely on gargantuan buildings and ridiculously high flying objects trafficked in a way that your mind would be mystified, mainly on the effect rather than the actuality. In “Looper”, we see a world which combines that technological advancement along with the things that would resemble the world today, the good, the bad and the worse. It respects the advancement in a futuristic world and the side of it which would continue as in today. It provides a perspective that is so obvious yet so easily neglected in other films.

“Looper” takes on the time travel which is the most desirable feat for several film makers and the one that begins with tons of holes in the screenplay as the concept itself is baffling enough. A film that did a confused justice to that department is Shane Caruth’s “Primer”. Till date I could not gather out the plot line in its entirety despite the fact that I was aided greatly by Wiki’s detailed explanation. Yet I have great admiration for Caruth’s attempt in providing his vision. This is Rian Johnson’s version but more so is a background than becoming the entire film.

In 2044 there exists a clan of men whose sole purpose is to kill someone from future. Time travel does not exist in 2044 but it does in 2074. Easy way to get rid of a body in the future is to eliminate the existence in that time hence porting them to the past and finishing off the disposal. Obviously there are several reasons for the time travel to be illegal and how the mob in future wants to walk over it for their purpose makes it self explanatory and if you think about it, its a clean process. This clan of men are led under Abe (Jeff Daniels), who is sent from future to manage this. The noticeable star in his group is young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Joe has been in this profession sufficiently enough to load up enough silvers (the currency that exists in future), get addicted to a drug that is through eye drops and smoke leisurely. He has set his future.

When the assassins open up their payment from the back of their victim, if it is placed with gold then they have just finished off their loop, meaning killed their future self. Hence they exactly know their life expectancy, enjoy that with fullest extend and end it merrily. Joe in his deepest instinct knows that and when the time comes, he counters his older version trick him. This is played by Bruce Willis. From this point the film takes on a thriller science fiction onto a character development of various angle. Apparently the future Joe has decided to not end of his life for the reasons we come to know and we are made aware of his agenda in 2044. Like anyone, he would like to make his future better.

“Looper” is the film since “Inception” that it deals its audience with respect and maturity. It plays with the time travel paradox and then leaves you spellbound to of course ruminate on the repercussions and logic, yet come out entertained and not cheated. One of the crucial thing in making the audience believe in the future they are portray is to the element of that world becoming a normal event for the characters. Even in that normalcy, they invent something out of the ordinary to push that envelope on the advancement. Look at how the country life and corn fields exist and at the same time the assassins carry the most sophisticated mobile phone. Notice how they introduce the concept of telekinetic power being nothing more than floating a coin and how it manifests into something else to aid the story. Rian Johnson makes it all of this so easy in a script that is so familiar in the world it generates.

Beyond this is the performance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is time and again proves that he can take roles that would bemuse you and excel in it comfortably. Here he has the most challenging role wherein he has to imbibe the mannerisms of Bruce Willis yet not mimic him. The balance he achieves in this is phenomenal and commendable.  Bruce Willis does his role like he can play it in his sleep. One thing for sure as one of my friends mentioned after the film, never mess with Bruce Willis. Emily Blunt gives another understated performance and makes the characters come together in a stand off that makes you think you have it figured out only to topple it off. Pierce Gagnon as the small boy Cid brings a sort of terror and adorability in a role that needs it at the right time with perfect execution.

“Looper” as much as it takes the film seriously also has fun with it. Jeff Daniels’ Abe discusses with the young Joe on providing information on the friend (Paul Dano) let off his future self to escape which plays an inside joke on Gordon-Levitt’s hipster style and at the same time keeps it grounded on the screenplay. That balance is impeccable and Rian Johnson achieves it effortlessly. I remember seeing Johnson’s debut in “Brick” with Gordon-Levitt as the high school boy investigating a murder in a neo-noir fashion. I was not able to react to the strangeness that film posed. I would love to see it now and can say that would enjoy it more. Then he came up with “The Brothers Bloom” which had a sense of style and execution in a con film that as much resembled Mamet’s movies stood apart in presentation. Here comes “Looper” a science fiction that is so far away from his previous ventures and he has mastered it with perfection. You will of course wonder and wander through plot and the possibilities of the flaws and holes in the logic. You very well might find one but the fact Rian Johnson pulled off time travel film without making it flounder while the film is happening while entertaining his audience and treating them like a grown person is nothing short of brilliance.

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