Monday, October 1, 2012

Closing the Loop

The movie Looper was not what I expected.  I thought it would be an action-packed, adrenaline-filled, time-traveling, non-stop thrill ride.  And while some of those elements are definitely in the movie, the film is more of a nuanced character-study, almost existential in fact. -- If you could possibly change the future for the better by changing yourself today, at great sacrifice, would you do it?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a hired assassin called a "Looper."  Joe lives in Kansas in the year 2044, but works for a mob syndicate that exists and operates in the year 2074.  When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they send the person back in time to 2044 and the looper kills the target and disposes of the body.  We're told time-travel is an efficient means to murder someone because in 2074 bodies can be tagged, but if someone is killed in the past, it's almost like they never existed.  "Closing the loop" is a term of art among these hired guns used to describe a situation where the target sent for elimination is the looper's future self.  When a looper kills his future self, he's paid in gold and can retire, living his life as he wants for the next thirty years (2044 to 2074) until the mob comes for him.  Sounds convoluted, doesn't it?  It is, but, believe it or not, I haven't given that much away.  

Young Joe's life goes awry when his future self, played by Bruce Willis, arrives for elimination, but Young Joe fails to get the job done.  Interestingly enough, almost the entire film takes place in 2044 where Young Joe exists.  We only briefly see Old Joe's life in the future.  The tension of the story arises and is driven by Old Joe's desire to preserve his future life at almost any cost and Young Joe's desire to maintain the life he has without regard for the consequences of what he's done or what he may do.  And while this summary may sound cryptic, any further explanation will just ruin it for you.  Also, if you're the type who needs perfect logic when watching a sci-fi moving involving time travel, let.  it.  go.  A willing suspension of disbelief is needed to enjoy this movie, at least the first time around.  And, yes, I am contemplating seeing Looper again because it is just that good. Not only will you enjoy it at the multiplex, but days later you will still be pondering the questions and ideas left tickling your brain.

1 comment:

  1. i really enjoyed this movie! it was unexpectedly deep for me as well.


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