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  #1  
Old October 5th, 2012, 12:36 AM
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Default Looper

Looper
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt. Directed by Rian Johnson.

Itís 2044, and time travel hasnít been invented yet, but in thirty years it will be invented and prohibited. Crime syndicates do it anyway, and rather than killing people in their present, they send victims back to 2044 to be killed by employees called loopers, who shoot them on sight and dispose of the bodies. Itís an interesting way to handle murder, because loopers are killing people whose bodies and lives still exist in their present, so how are they guilty of murder?

When Looper is at its best, it lets its talented actors crawl around in the moral crevices of a reality rich in ethical dilemmas. The metaphorical minefield has been trod before in other time-travel films, including Minority Report, Hot Tub Time Machine, and even The Final Conflict: knowing whatís going to happen in the future, how far is it okay to go, if at all, toward stopping something horrible? Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis play Joe, thirty years apart, and what the older character hopes to alter is both personal and universal. Emily Blunt is a single mother who finds herself in the middle of Joeís situation, offering her own spin on the moralizing the film doesnít indulge in so much as encourage its audience to roll around in its consciences.

I thoroughly enjoyed just about every moment of this film, at times begging things to slow down so that I could poke my brain around in the choices confronted by the main characters, wishing I could consider alternate actions for them, like those old Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books. I wanted Joe to linger with his acquaintances so we could get their stories; I wanted to stick a bookmark between its pages so I could flip to the glossary in the back and get explanations for the everyday objects and interactions the film doesnít take time to explain. Itís a well-thought-out world this movie is set in.

The acting is solid, both lead actors taking advantage of the droopy-eyed weariness I never before noticed they each carry in several films. I have a particular fondness for Emily Blunt, but her performance is uneven in Looper, and her character seems the least developed. At times Blunt seems to change the way her characters speaks and gestures from one scene to another, and at least once I could swear she changed her characterís accent in the middle of a sentence. There is also a child character, and I try to cut child actors some slack, but I couldnít stand this kid, either as an actor or as a character.

The pacing is excellent, and the length seems exactly right, but although (no spoiler here) the ending is the correct ending, there is one nagging question for me that I hope will be answered by a second viewing: while it is probably the best choice for the characters involved, does it really solve the problem? Iím left pretty unsure.

Looper is excellent science fiction that relies not on special effects or space ships, but on thoughtful development of its characters and consideration of the implications of the fiction it creates. Donít take the kids (itís bloody and violent as heck), but do take yourself.

8/10 (IMDb rating)
81/100 (Criticker rating)
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  #2  
Old October 5th, 2012, 12:17 PM
Leo Lakio Leo Lakio is offline
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Default Re: Looper

Thanks for this review - it's a film I've been considering going to, and I see VERY FEW films overall.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrivener View Post
The acting is solid, both lead actors taking advantage of the droopy-eyed weariness I never before noticed they each carry in several films.
Gordon-Levitt has been quoted as saying that he studied Willis' mannerisms extensively before filming, in order to suggest (rather than imitate) his appearance.
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Originally Posted by scrivener View Post
(itís bloody and violent as heck)
This is important for me to know, and frankly is a factor that will keep me away from seeing this film. I realize that I miss many films and television shows that I would otherwise enjoy, simply because of the dramatic increase in the realistic violence/gore factor in the past 20 years or so, but it's something I don't wish to subject myself to.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 02:33 PM
Honoruru Honoruru is offline
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Default Re: Looper

I saw Looper last weekend and thought it was excellent. Itís a smart, thoughtful film that I want to watch again.

One aspect that caught my interest:
It takes place in an unnamed city in the near future (2044), seemingly dark and decaying. Then the sudden contrast, right on its outskirts, where the Loopers execute their victims from the future, is a small killing field bathed in sunlight next to a corn field. Or at least I thought it was a corn field. But the Emily Blunt character, Sara, called it a ďcane fieldĒ several times. I did a double take, and looked at it again, and yes indeed, it was a sugarcane field. What I liked about this aspect was that it took what at first seemed straight-forward and obvious (the futuristic city that wasnít so futuristic; the corn/cane field and the farmhouse on the other side of it that seemed from the mid-west) and created a slightly different version, slightly surreal, an almost personal universe. You pretty much have to take a second look at everything in this movie.

The introduction of Sara and her son was what turned this time-travel sci-fi (albeit a very good one) into something special. As the story progressed, you realized thereís another story here. Scrivener mentions The Minority Report and other time-travel movies, but for me, at the end, it reminded me of The Terminator, where both female leads (coincidently named Sarah and Sara) and their sons (one yet to be born) pose a big question about the future. It begs for a sequel, which makes me giddy with anticipation and at the same time cringe at the thought of spoiling the memory of a perfectly good movie. Sequels make me nervous.

As for the violence, I didnít think it was overly violent. But then again, I am a very non-violent person who happens to like a lot of movies with lots of violence.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Looper

(no spoilers)

I thought the interesting contrast was that between that American city of 2044 and the Chinese city of 2074.
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Old October 6th, 2012, 03:57 AM
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Default Re: Looper

I much appreciated the review. It was even handed and to the point.

Very few regions of the earth have escaped glacial cooling events that often engulfed

whole sub continents.

Some neighborhoods in China have never seen ice ages and have a calm outlook

that does not bank on disaster.

That is, their culture saw ,recorded and transcribed such events.

The profound nature of their conclusions were masked in allegory and

sung in taverns.
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Old October 6th, 2012, 01:49 PM
Honoruru Honoruru is offline
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Default Re: Looper

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Originally Posted by scrivener View Post
(no spoilers)

I thought the interesting contrast was that between that American city of 2044 and the Chinese city of 2074.
Yes. That, too! But thatís on another level, probably a higher, more significant level. [No spoilers.] This is one movie I want to see again, because I think I missed a lot of things, or want to reinforce what I think I saw.
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Old October 9th, 2012, 03:55 AM
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Default Re: Looper

Saw the movie Looper late Sunday night at the Ward Theater.

The movie is a mix of sci-fi sub-genres (time travel, life in the future, changes in humans at the genetic level), action and crime drama.

While the movie worked okay as an action flick, the logic of sending a person and some bars of silver to the past to be killed by a hitman (and to collect the silver as a fee for the hit) doesn't seem to make sense. I am suprised that the time travel device couldn't be used to send someone to space or maybe to the moon.

Last edited by helen; October 9th, 2012 at 04:31 AM.
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Old October 9th, 2012, 05:00 AM
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Default Re: Looper

My guess is that it's a rudimentary understanding of time-travel. Otherwise, why not send people back to the same day in the past, including the looper himself, so that all the hits and the loop-closing could be taken care of in one day, or perhaps in one week, rather than make the looper do one per day (or so) and never know when his loop was going to be closed? I get the feeling that, like their telekinesis, their time-travel ability is limited and they can perhaps only send people back exactly thirty years.

Remember when they send Old Joe back? He's late getting into the time-travel device, but if the device is set for a date and time, he'd still arrive at that date and time even if he was late jumping into it. But he arrives late, indicating that the machine is set to go back a certain amount of time, not to a set date and time. My guess is that sending the victim to space or to the moon is beyond their capability.
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