I’m not going to say a lot about Looper here, probably because I’m presuming that Benjie and I will talk about it on the next episode of the podcast. But I share a few very brief, very unnecessary comments…
I really liked Brick, and I really liked The Brothers Bloom prior, so I went into this movie expecting to like it, plus it’s Rian Johnson dealing with time travel, which is one of my favorite sci fi devices, and it features Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the young exciting actor that I think everyone’s rooting for these days, right? So me liking this is not all that shocking, but this is a vastly different movie than Johnson’s previous films.
Brick was amazing, and as much as I liked its indie polish and the cleverness of transporting film noir into a typical American high school setting, I was more dazzled by the dialogue. That is a movie that is entranced by and enthralling in its dance to the music of words.
And The Brothers Bloom was also incredibly clever, playing with the style of films from eras past, making them modern, but never losing the cleverness of those tropes. But the movie was a bit precious, a bit twee, if you will, which the same argument could be made for Brick as well.
But then there’s Looper, which feels… a little more grounded, a little more hardcore, a little more mature, perhaps. This film is essentially a very geeky and more humanistic remake of parts of The Terminator, and then it turns into a western. On the past two episodes of the podcast, Benjie and I were discussing the various different forms of time travel out there, and one of the many things I like about Looper is that it is the perfect example of time travel in the movies. Is it the most realistic, the most accurate as far as dealing with cause and effect and the danger of paradoxes? No. But it is exactly what you want to see in a movie. It is a wonderful example of Time Travel In A Visual Medium.
And are there plot holes? (Or loopholes?) Yes, of course. But aren’t plot holes a constant in any movie featuring time travel? Aren’t they almost a requirement?
Also in film law correlation, but with spoilers: No one can touch Bruce Willis in psuedo-hero mode. This is the third time where he’s played a character who’s encountered a younger version of himself, and all of his bullets hit his targets and none of his foes’ bullets can hit him. The only thing that can stop him when he’s in Terminator mode is temporal murder/suicide.
(Also, loved that this is the first film to address Willis’ male pattern baldness realistically.)
Rian Johnson has now done movies featuring murder mysteries, con men, and also time travel. Some of the absolute favorite types of stories, at least to this nerd. Perhaps we can change the name of the podcast to Time Travel Murder Mystery Sexy Confidence Man Shenangians.
Or, more importantly, aren’t you dying to know what Johnson will dabble in next? As much word of mouth as this filmmaker gets, and more so lately in the advance buzz leading up to Looper‘s release, he still doesn’t get enough. He’s doing it incredibly subtly, but I like to think that Johnson is literally crafting some of the genre cinema of the future, and people aren’t paying nearly enough attention.
In the past week, Peter Jackson has publicly proclaimed his love for Doctor Who and his desire to direct an episode and the moronic world at large has celebrated this and the BBC is seemingly now going to move Heaven and Earth to make that happen. Sigh. Whatever. This is the same week that Rian Johnson has also declared his love for the show and the desire to do an episode (the same for Game Of Thrones), and that seems all that more intriguing and exciting to me. I don’t watch Breaking Bad, but I hear the episodes he directed of it were pretty impressive, at least visually.
I’m not going to talk about the prosthetics that poor JGL was saddled with once they cast Bruce Willis in the film, except to say that JGL is an actor who can clearly thrive despite them, and you have to admire a film that is that committed to its set up to force such a thing on its lead.
It’s fascinating that Shane Carruth was involved in the visual effects of this film, especially considering that he’s done probably the most mind bendingly accurate time travel movie ever, Primer. Probably a big contributor to why the effects looked as good as they did considering how low this film’s budget was.
Anyway. This was all inelegantly put down, I know, but I didn’t want to let the time pass without me saying something about Looper here, doing so with a bunch of pictures, or doing it without a few time travel puns. Go see the movie if you haven’t already, and then, even though time travel hasn’t been invented yet, go back to the theater and see it again. The person sitting in the dark there next to you might just be you, from either the past or the future.