Looper (2012) Review
By Anthony Servante
Looper (2012) is an American science fiction action film written and directed by Rian Johnson. The film stars Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt. “In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by transporting back Joe's future self.” There are peripheral elements to the plot that need expansion. Crime is rampant. There doesn’t seem to be any law enforcement at all present. Even the homeless sport guns. The future (2044) is overcrowded with people literally filling the streets.
(note crowds in background, ignored by loopers)
Housing is a luxury for the employees of organized crime boss (Jeff Daniels). These corrupt workers fill positions as Gat Men (hit men), prostitutes, or drug peddlers (a eye-drop concoction designed to heighten the senses, but is highly addictive). The wealthy drive hovercrafts and antique muscle cars. Because bodies are so difficult to dispose of in the future (2074), the mob sends their targeted victims to the past so the Loopers can dispose of them for a payment of silver bars taped to the back of the targets. However, when a loop is closed, it means that the looper must kill his own future self for a retirement payment of gold bars. And this is what the trailers are selling, that this will be a movie about young Joe tracking down old Joe who escapes being killed by his doppelganger looper. Instead, we get a much better movie.
(best waste of steak and eggs ever)
Old Joe escapes the future mob and deliberately returns to the past to kill the crime lord Rainmaker of the future who is killing off old loopers and causing a “reign” of terror. This can only be accomplished by finding and ending the life of the child who will grow up to be the future mob boss. Young Joe merely wants to close his loop to get in good with the mob again (loopers who don’t close their loop suffer creative tortures as a means of transferring the mayhem to the future targets—cutting off a finger of the present self causes the future self to lose a finger, for instance). Both young and old Joes’ stories center on the child Cid who may or may not grow up to be the Rainmaker, the crime lord of the future (’74). And the binding element throughout the movie is the fact that telekinesis is common in part of the population, but no more than an inkling, just enough to keep a quarter coin afloat. The TK angle comes center stage to the story and the multiple plotlines converge as we learn that the Rainmaker just might be a super TK.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt wears enough prosthetics to actually look like a young Bruce Willis, and Willis in turn looks like his old action hero self (think Die Hard with a few more wrinkles). After his terribly stiff turn in Expendables II (2012), this role for the old actor shows that he might have one more Die Hard film left in him. Emily Blunt steals the second half of the movie as the strong mother of the young target old Joe just might be gunning for. She can wield an axe or tame a tantrum with a firm hand, depending on the size of the tantrum, that is.
(willis still got it)
The science fiction is comparable to 12 Monkeys or Blade Runner, where the gadgets of the future are as fallible as any new technology with the bugs still not worked out (which is why young Joe prefers an old automobile rather than a hovercycle). What starts as an action thriller about sf hitmen turns into a bigger loop about life and death, parents and children, nature versus nurture. As we learn, to make things right, there is more than one way to close a loop. If you’re looking for a thinking person’s sf movie, this is the one to attend this week. Get yourself in the loop.