LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- THV Film Critic Jonathan Nettles takes a look at the film Looper.
Time travel is a tricky thing. Time travel in movies is more so because the audience can see direct loopholes and once you start thinking about it, the loopholes become even bigger. The trick to make a good time travel movie is for the film to set its own rules early on and stay faithful to them while telling a compelling story. Considering the potential loopholes of time travel in film, Looper may be the best title for a film involving time travel.
In the year 2044, there are Loopers, a faction of hitmen who work for the mob that kill targets sent back from thirty years in the future. Killing them in the past, means there's no DNA evidence in the future of a murder and no body to hide. In the future when the mob wants to tie up loose ends, they close the loop by sending the Looper's future self back to be executed by 2044 Looper. Everybody got that? The 2044 Looper then knows that he has 30 years from that day to live out his life.
Joe (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is our 2044 Looper. Future Joe is played by Bruce Willis. When future Joe is sent back to be put down by 2044 Joe, he escapes and brings the wrath and fury of 2044 mob down upon both of them. 2044 Joe is on the run because until he kills future Joe, he can be captured and used to lure future Joe into a trap or worse. Remember the photograph of Marty's family from Back to the Future? Yeah, it's kind of like that. Future Joe has his own mission to change the past so his loop will never be closed in the future and 2044 Joe must kill future Future Joe so he can have a future.
Director and Writer Rian Johnson lays out the time travel rules of Looper early on in the film. The past directly affects the future, even changing the memories of someone from that future. The future knows what happens to the past even as that past changes due to interference from the future. Only Doc Brown can explain it in a way that makes sense so don't get too bogged down in it.
Beyond the time travel aspect, it's a story about who you want to be, how you see yourself, and how you would do things differently. Bruce Willis Joe sees a goal in his future and wants to make sure his younger self sees that goal to fruition and prevent a horrible future by stopping it in the past. Joseph Gordon Levitt sees his present and sees who he wants to be and eventually understands how to do things differently. There's even a nice element of romance. Bruce Willis Joe has a love-of-his-life that he's trying to protect. Joseph Gordon Levitt Joe he's in the process of finding.
I'd have to say that Looper was not what I thought it would be, but in a good way. It had elements in the plot that I did not expect and they all turned out much better than I thought they would be. I certainly thought there would be a greater sci-fi element to the film and admittedly I was disappointed that it didn't turn out that way but what I did get was much more rewarding.
I give Looper 9 stars out of 11.
Here's a list of other movies in theaters this week:
Won't Back Down
West of Memphis
Here's what's available on new on DVD and Blu Ray:
Damsels in Distress
The Tall Man