Saturday, October 13, 2012

Looper (Wanous)

'Looper' will throw you for a loop



Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a younger Bruce Willis. Or is it older?

Trying to keep up with the paradoxes inherent in any time-travel story is confusing, but to enjoy this movie, you have to forget logic (or the lack thereof) and let the plot unfold without too much analysis.
If you try to reason out the time travel and the life trajectories that loop back and forth, you'll only end up confused and with a headache.
As Bruce Willis explains to his younger persona in the film, "I don't want to talk about time-travel s**t. Because if we start, we're going to be here all day making diagrams with straws."
Rian Johnson directed "Looper," which stars Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels and Emily Blunt.
Johnson's two previous big-screen efforts were "Brick" and "The Brothers Bloom," both respectable. "Looper" continues in Johnson's quirky but entertaining cinematic style.
The premise, from Rotten Tomatoes:
"In the futuristic action thriller 'Looper', time travel will be invented -- but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a 'looper' -- a hired gun, like Joe (Gordon-Levitt) -- is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good ... until the day the mob decides to 'close the loop,' sending back Joe's future self (Willis) for assassination."
This is the third time his character has gone back in time and run into a young version of himself, so Willis must like these mind-bending time-travel themes.
Blunt ("The Devil Wears Prada") is excellent as Sara, a tough single mom trying to raise her 10-year old son, who seems to have issues of his own, while running a sugarcane farm alone. Daniels steps out of his usual character type to play Abe, a soft-spoken yet evil gangster.
You may have trouble recognizing Gordon-Levitt (TV's "Third Rock from the Sun") because he doesn't look entirely like himself, thanks to makeup artist Kazuhiro Tsuji. Johnson wanted Gordon-Levitt to more closely resemble Willis and, though the process succeeds to some degree, it does leave Gordon-Levitt looking a bit strange.
The film is rated a well-deserved R, mostly for violence. An example: The torture scene, where the younger version of one of the loopers is having body parts lopped off and the resulting injuries show up immediately on his 30-year-older persona. It's a fascinating concept.
And here's a challenge for viewers: There's something featured early in the film that will have astute viewers wondering. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the plot and simply seems part of the futuristic background.
But it will make a dramatic and violent reappearance near the end of the film and explain a lot about both Blunt's character and the mysterious Rainmaker. See if you can spot that early clue.
The film also addresses themes of lost love and regret, addiction, the consequences of our decisions and whether a mother's love can determine her child's path in life.
"Looper" is an exciting and unique take on time travel and the future, reminiscent of "Blade Runner" and "Terminator." With this film, Johnson shows promise as a major talent in Hollywood and I will probably go back and see it again.
But wait: By going back, in the future, will I somehow close my own loop? I'm so confused.    

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