Time Travel Done Right: Looper Movie Review
Let’s face it, time travel stories have been re-done, re-used, and re-cycled more times than critics can count. Time travel used to be interesting, but then came Doctor Who, Time Traveller’s Wife, Back to the Future, A Wrinkle in Time, and last and most definitely least, Hot Tub Time Machine. The present day movie-goer is no longer entranced by travelling forward or backward in time. Thankfully, the writers of Looper caught on to this jaded perspective we live in today and has since created one of the most unique and amazing depictions of the future that science fiction has ever seen.
In Looper, time travel is only one slice of the breathtaking pie. The year is 2044 and crime has completely taken over the world. The movie focuses on Joe, a member of the Loopers, an elite group of assassins who are hired to kill targets from the future by sending them to the Loopers’ present time. The concept of assassination targets time travelling to the assassin is a concept that is easy to follow, fresh, and completely distinctive amongst the flood of sci-fi.
One average morning, Joe goes out to his usual reclusive assassination area when suddenly his future-self appears and attacks. From here on out, the viewer must decide on whether to root for the naive and strictly-business Young Joe or the wise yet haunting version of what Young Joe will one day become.
Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis provide wonderful on screen chemistry and butter-knife-cuttable tension together as well as superb acting talent on their own. Neither of these characters are the hero nor the villain and instead follow two separate plot lines that come together at the very end and will never cease to amaze. Both Old and Young Joe’s intentions are equally as reasonable and you may find yourself caught between these two characters at times, wondering which should ultimately prevail.
Aside from the amazing acting talent and quality of writing in Looper, the movie is both ruthlessly dark and extremely comedic at times. This Tarantino-esque style of writing is a bit intense and extreme, making me wonder if I really wanted to laugh or gasp in horror. I don’t want to spoil any major plot points for you, but this movie has a very twisted and sick sense of humor if you could even call it that.
I really wish I could call this movie perfect, but there was one very noticeable flaw: the casting. Never have I ever heard of a situation that quite matches the one that the producers of Looper found themselves in. After successfully casting Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the directors also ended up casting Bruce Willis later the same year. Then they realized they have a problem: Bruce Willis and JGL look nothing alike. Why would the casting directors do that? Did they have to cast Bruce Willis? Are they really putting big name actors in front of people who may have fit the part better? In order to make Gordon-Levitt look more similar to Willis, they had to have him in the makeup chair for a good two hours a day, a unsettling transformation that is both very distracting to the audience and fake. I missed Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s usual mannerisms during the movie. With a little better planning, this movie would be a lot less distracting. Fortunately, this is a small price to pay and as long as you don’t pay attention to those horrendously fake eyebrows, it’s still a fantastic film.
Not many bad things can be said about Looper. The writing was impeccable, the soundtrack was great, characters were interesting, and the emotional and dramatic scenes between Young and Old Joe were the icing on the cake. Although they could have done a better job with casting, both Willis and JGL did a great job portraying their characters. Good acting, a great script, but poor choice of cast, gives this movie an A-.