So, in a word, Looper was kickass. Now in keeping with being a 'bitter film cynic" according to one of my newer friends (a title I intend to live up to), I did have some particular complaints about the film. I'll get to those in a bit.
The first point that was brought to my attention was the way the film glosses over time travel. Mayhap I'm getting soft in my old age, but this didn't bother me. The writer/director Rian Johnson himself stated,
That said, I can deal with the deficiency. What I can't deal with is the fact that the film sacrifices a lot of the possible character interactions. We have Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Old-Joe (Bruce Willis) and after the diner scene, they don't interact with one another for the rest of the film. There's a vague notion but all the potential is dropped midway, like a train run out of steam."Even though it's a time-travel movie, the pleasure of it doesn't come from the mass of time travel. It's not a film like Primer, for instance, where the big part of the enjoyment is kind of working out all the intricacies of it. For Looper, I very much wanted it to be a more character-based movie that is more about how these characters dealt with the situation time travel has brought about. So the biggest challenge was figuring out how to not spend the whole movie explaining the rules and figure out how to put it out there in a way that made sense on some intuitive level for the audience; then get past it and deal with the real meat of the story."
Spoiler Warning: Let me put it this way, Joe describes seeing the future laid out in front of him in the final moments of the film. What do they always say though, "Show, don't tell." Looper had, as I said, so much more potential to delve into the alternative versions of each character.
And that's not the only thing that chafed my britches. The biggest thing that bothered me again was a failure to utilize the established potential. In this case, the TKs. Telekinesis really had no impact on this film. It was there, it was shiny, and it offered up a pretty cool visual of blowing up Garret Dillahunt. But if you really think about it, none of the character arcs, none of the emotional beats would have been altered had the telekinesis been completely struck from the plot.
I'll focus on the ending primarily. It was big, flashy, and offered the chance for Cid to change his mind about atomizing Old-Joe. However, if we cut it out, and kept with Cid running into the corn and escaping, Old-Joe preparing to shoot Sara, and Joe realizing the closed loop it would create, nothing changes.
We are lead to assume that Cid uses his telekinesis to become the Rainmaker and begin closing down the loops, but seeing as we're only told about this, and not shown, any person with an imagination (and a hellion of a ten year old with a temper anywhere in the vicinity of their life) can probably figure out just as plausible an explanation for Cid's transformation into the Rainmaker.
|Hold onto that hairline kiddo.|
That said, pretty much everything else kicked ass. I mean, really I was on the edge of my seat for a better portion of the film. I won't espouse everything here, but I'll ramble through some of my favorite aspects. Joseph Gordon-Levitt really impressed me here. For the first twenty to thirty minutes of the film I was simply blown away by his ability to capture a majority of Bruce Willis' mannerisms.
|And let's face it ... these two don't look anything alike.|
"I was sitting across from Joe across a table. I was supposed to act and get all my lines right, but I just found myself looking at him and thinking how weird it was. It was an honour. It’s really a strange thing to see someone that looks like a young version of yourself. He’s a great actor, I love his work and I just love what he did in this film, ‘Looper.’ He picked up some of my cadence of speaking, which was odd, and yet, really cool at the same time."
Reading about the makeup Joseph Gordon-Levitt had to wear was another triumph of the film. Despite the oddity of it, I don't know if I'd have noticed had I never seen him in a film before. Hard for me to say. I pay attention to these things, but until I sat down and looked, I had no idea how intense the makeup really was.
Okay, I've glossed over a lot of the film here, so I'll shout out to actors Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels, and Noah Segan.
I will also say that the ultimate fate of the character of Seth was possibly one of the more mentally disturbing things I've ever seen in a film. Kudos!