I can’t believe I had time to watch a movie this week, in theaters no less. I managed to go out to see Looper, the crossover movie staring the increasingly popular Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL) and the action super star Bruce Willis. This movie involves time travel and the struggle between the past and the present character as both Gordon-Levitt and Willis duke it out as the same character. Confusing? You bet. But never fear because Looper is one of those rare time travel movies that I actually will endorse (including than Back to the Future). How so? Find out why after the jump.
In 2074 time travel was discovered and quickly banned. This did not stop the mafia from discovering the technology and using it to send their hits to the past to be eliminated. In 2044 there existed Loopers, people who are hired to eliminate the hits that are sent from the future ensuring a clean and organized kill of people who didn’t exist in the 2044 timeline. Included time travel, about 10% of the human population in 2044 exists as TKs or people with Telekinesis; the ability to move objects with their mind. Things are going well for Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). His work for the mafia has not only gained him popularity as the youngest Looper but also has established him in the community as reliable and resourceful. Well all that ended when he found that his next hit was future Joe (Bruce Willis). When the mafia sends your future self it’s called closing the loop. Not willing to be easily killed, Old Joe sends himself back to beat up his younger self and to create one of the biggest time paradoxes in history: stop the killer known as The Rainmaker.
Looper treads very lightly in the time travel movie storyline. First and foremost the time travel theory that the writers follow is that time is linear rather than alternate universes through the butterfly effect. Change something in the past and it alters the future. I particularly enjoy the fact that Old Joe spends about five seconds talking about the paradox saying that Young Joe would be as old as his older self until he understood. The movie spends very little time explaining the concept, which I loved because the main premise of the movie is totally action.
I loved the concept of two Joes in the film, as they are essentially the same person but with two wildly different attitudes about what should be done. You could sit and philosophize the idea that they should be the same person forever but the movie makes a solid distinction between the two Joes. The Young Joe wanting to save the Rainmaker but the other wanting to destroy him. Writer/Director Rian Johnson really made his mark with Looper this being his first big movie.
Like I said earlier, the writing in Looper is really solid. Much of the tedious time travel concepts are easily wrapped up in a nice package. The movie also wastes little time in special effects short of gun fights and explosions. Probably the most jarring thing is seeing all the face makeup on Gordon-Levitt to make him resemble Willis. Thankfully it wasn’t done too terribly bad and I got used to it eventually. While some may find the ending a little confusing and contrived, I thought it was well explained and thorough. Don’t miss out on this movie guys.