Another time-travel movie? That was my first response when I first saw the trailer for this film, but then I figured I would approach this film with the understanding that Sci-Fi can sometimes take us to a place that is both entertaining and well, believable. Looper accomplishes most of that.You could even say that this film becomes an alternate universe of itself. Right-off the bat, the one thing I really liked was the decision of the director to follow the film in one continuous time-line while using future-flashbacks to augment the struggle of the older Looper, played by Bruce WIllis. Gordon-Levitt narrates the intro to “catch-us-up” to where this story is headed. What are Loopers? Loopers are hired killers who work for the mob. Their job? The Loopers kill “retired” Loopers, thus closing the time-loop. Yeah, kind of confusing but then again just thinking about how time-travel works will make you go crazy.
Let’s move on.
It’s pretty obvious early on that you should feel no real connection to the young Joe; he’s self-absorbed and greedy. You see, young Joe wants his due time as a young man that just wants: lots of cash, women and a steady diet of some drug. As the story unfolds, however, we learn that older Joe has changed a lot in thirty years, largely, in part, to a lady he meets who, nurses him back to health. It’s that in-between time, before the wife, that older Joe probably feels cheated out of so, he plans to kill everyone –including the Rainmaker. The Rainmaker was the legend of that one powerful Looper that was closing all the loops. So…if the Rainmaker never exists then Old Joe will never have to be killed –in the past which is the future. Confused yet?
…And then there’s telekinesis…Oh and then there’s a mob-boss played by Jeff Daniels who, plays this part pretty well –as the villain, and he’s definitely a threat to both Joes. So…there it all is and…I know there’s a lot to digest here. And fortunately, the story does not suffer one bit, however, it could be argued that there is so much going-on in this film that it feels like it’s a little too crowded. Perhaps it needed to be a mini-series or T.V. series. That said, the finished product of this concept is innovative, smart, and brilliantly told. The visuals moves the story right along at a nice pace with several high-intense action scenes balanced with those slower “just-gettin-to-know-you” scenes. Not to mention, that, this excellent group of actors helped lend a realistic approach to this universe by pulling you into their world, emotionally. This is mostly due to the fact that a great screenplay will move the audience from emotion to emotion while not getting in the way of the overall story. More importantly, the styles and themes of past Sci-Fi films like Bladerunner and Terminator jump right-off the screen, as does the darkness you may recognize in the more modern neo-noir film genre. My biggest gripe is this: the film suffers in one minor area and that is with the little child Rainmaker played by child actor Pierce Gagnon. This kid can act, no doubt, but unfortunately he takes this Rainmaker character more into the realm of the demon-kid rather than just an angry or scared child. He’s just plain creepy and it didn’t fit the film. Despite this, the film accomplishes what is sets out to do, and that is to make you think twice about any decision you make.