Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Movie Madness: Looper

Monday Movie Madnesswhere I review a movie that I recently saw for the first time. This week's offering is Looper (2012).

One of my favorite time travel movies is The Final Countdown, where the modern (in 1980s terms) carrier USS Nimitz is somehow transported back in time. Well not just back to any old time, but serendipitously back to December 1941 just to prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. It's a pretty entertaining flick as long as you don't expand neurons on how contrived the circumstances have to be to move the plot along; Nimitz has to be in the right place and time to encounter the unexplained time portal, of all the points in time possible it goes back to 1941 where it a modern nuclear-powered carrier and jet air wing would change a pivotal moment in naval history, and (this is a flaw in every time travel story for me) despite the fact that Earth, the solar system and the Milky Way are constantly moving through space Nimitz still winds up in the equivalent position in another time instead of empty space. The thing is if you dissect any time travel movie these plot absurdities become the movie for you, rather than the story. A willing suspension of disbelief is thus required, unless of course the story has no redeeming story or entertainment value, in that case going MST3K becomes the only reason to watch it.

Which brings me to this weeks movie, Looper.  The basic premise is that in the late 21st century time travel will be invented, but immediately outlawed due to the obvious implications. In an apparent case of " if time travel is outlawed only outlaws will have time travel", organized crime uses time travel for whacking people.  It works like this, in the 2070s biometric tracking makes it hard to kill and dispose of bodies (although scenes set in that period show goons threatening and killing people so it assumed not to be a universal problem), so victims are sent back in time to 2040s Kansas (!?!) were an assassin waits in a cornfield at the designated time to off and dispose the unfortunate victim. The executioners use a futuristic shotgun that can't miss at short range and can't hit the broad side of a barn past that range. I try here to avoid spoilers but this range issue becomes a critical Chekov's gun later on. In fact there are many odd details that seem unnecessary that become integral as the movie progresses. The whackee is sent back in time hooded and with silver bars attached for payment. Sometime in the future every assassin will be looped back in time to be killed by their younger self. This becomes a problem when one looper, Joshua Gordon-Leavitt suddenly meets his older, unhooded self in the form of Bruce Willis. The sight of his future self leads to hesitation on the art of Leavitt and the escape of Willis.

Now it this point you have to wonder, why have time travel just to use it for corpse disposal, why wouldn't someone use it to, you know, kill Hitler or someone like him? Wouldn't that be more of a story?  Well without revealing more, answering that question is what this movie surprisingly becomes. Fair warning, the way the movie answers this question is both disturbing and very sad.

Looper also does a fairly good job imagining a future where every thing is not contemporary, kinda like right now or any other real point in time.  Leavitt and Willis do a great job playing a single character at different points in time and Leavitt is made up to look like a younger version of Bruce.