If you’re first reaction to see this title is, “Wait, seriously, you’re reviewing this now?” the answer is that I am very poor. I wish I could see every movie I wanted to when it was in theaters, but I can’t. However, thanks to the magic of the Internet, I can get it to you eventually. So, now that everyone has been crying out about giant inconsistencies, and other issues with the plot, I get to see and judge for myself. Is this film really as issue laden as they say, or are they being blinded by tiny details?
Let’s take a look at Looper.
We begin our film with Joe, a looper, i.e. a man who kills for mafia, by disposing of people they send back from the future. However, Joe is confronted with his older self one day and let’s him escape, causing a huge amount of trouble for him. Older Joe has come back to the past in order to kill the Rainmaker, one of the biggest mafia bosses in the future, while he or she is still a child. Present Joe winds up on a farm with Sara, a young single mother and farmer, who knows about loopers and that her son, Cid, might now be in danger. The film doesn’t go too out of its way to explain everything, leaving some things to be deciphered by the audience, which is great, but can leave more questions at time. Also, people are annoyed with the telekinesis randomly thrown in, but I don’t mind it as much since its not over used.
I will say that the acting is strong all throughout, with none of the actors half-assing it. I will say I was most impressed with Willis, who really brings a rough desperation to the character of Joe. The special effects are also topnotch. For a sci-fi film, this looks better than the usual fare, with flying motor cycles, futuristic drugs, sparing use of super potent effects. Even the telekinesis is well done, looking like real reactions to motion, rather than just simple, stupid floating. Also, considering that Joseph Gordon Levitt looks nothing like Bruce Willis, they did a pretty decent job with the make-up to make it more convincing that they are the same person.
But this film has more cons than pros. For instance they try to make the older Joe a more sympathetic character, showing him struggling to remember his wife’s face, but it sort of hard to feel bad for the guy whose mission it is to kill children. It understandable that he’s both conflicted about it and knows that its best for the future, but it’s still murdering kids. I don’t know what the writers were thinking, but it’s clear that not much.
The pacing of the film is pretty terrible. It begins with a slow, expository pace before ramping up the action, and then slowing down, and speeding through the entire few days present Joe spends of the farm. It feels like they cut out a lot of scenes,but I couldn’t tell you which. Parts of the film seem disjointed and rushed, like the director just wanted to get through them to get to the “good” parts. It does a huge disservice to Emily Blunt, whose character gets little depth and very fast paced screen time. That isn’t to say the character is unlikable but it would have been better to spend more time with her, really getting to know her other than a generic bad-ass and a pretty terrible mother.
There are so many holes in this plot it makes my brain hurt. There’s a LOT about the plot that makes no sense, especially in terms of time travel. Bear with me, shit’s about to get technical. One, once you break a time loop, all connection should be severed between present you and future you. For example, if you cut a finger off of present you, after future you has broken the loop, nothing should happen to future you. Why? Because that future you came from a loop where he grew up with all appendages intact, and by breaking the loop, a new one is created that he is wholly independent from it. Two, present Joe realizes that if future Joe kills Sara, Cid will turn into the Rainmaker and thus by killing himself to save Sara, he avoids that fate. Except he doesn’t. Unless she’s killed by a random vagrant, its only in this loop Sara would die, killed by future Joe, not in the loop future Joe came from where the Rainmaker exists. So, basically, killed or not, Cid is going to turn into the Rainmaker no matter what and now Joe is dead because he was too stupid to realize that. Also, Cid is clearly sociopathic throughout the film, and without real psychological help, he is going to be on the Rainmaker path.
In the end, Looper tries too hard to straddle the line between brainy sci-fi-time-travel and gritty pedal-to-the-medal action and ultimately falls short. It’s fine to pass the time, so to speak, but it’s not exactly a substantive film. While the special effects held together, and the story managed to hold my interest, there was a lot of rushed pacing, and gaping plot holes.
– Strong story.
– Strong performances.
– Doesn’t over-explain to the audience.
– Obvious, and sometimes distracting, plot holes.
– Pacing is somewhat choppy.
– Poor ending.