I saw Looper over the weekend.
So yeah. Looper is amazing.
I keep thinking about sitting down and writing a review of the film but a) there are already great reviews out there and b) the very idea of reviewing the film gets my mind running in a bunch of different directions and the writing part never happens.
Instead, I want to start off by listing things I liked about the film, or rather my initial reaction to things that I liked.
This film is set in a future where Romney won the 2012 election and things got weirder from there.
This film reminds me of 1970s films in that way; it’s got something to say about our current society (think of all the weird paranoiac stuff throughout the first Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake). This is great.
Mao Zedong on the paper money… har har. Love that.
Wow, Joe’s betrayal of his friend is handled so well.
As the film goes on, they’re handling “the future is China” much better than most. China seems relatively prosperous and open while America has gone down an insane path of juiced up capitalism.
I like that Old Joe can’t stand younger Joe. I can’t stand younger me either.
The child is not annoying! This is a big deal. The child is not annoying. Who knew?
Fade to black*
*This isn’t me being a prude, I just have no idea what a sex scene could have done to improve the storytelling there. Obviously a thousand teenage boys screamed out at once and were suddenly silenced. I’m not sure what effect the prosthetics had on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s attractiveness, nor do I really understand his apparently very high level of attractiveness in any case. So I assume a thousand teenage girls also did the Star Wars reference thing. They wanted to see him in his jockey shorts, is what I’m saying. This note has gotten off topic.
DID NOT LIKE SO MUCH, AT ALL REALLY
Um, nothing. Well, I don’t like Paul Dano. That’s not really Paul Dano’s fault. I just don’t like his voice or his face or his schtick. So let’s go with nothing.
Well…. The “blunderbuss” thing felt on the nose. That was like, one thing, and highly personal.
So yeah. I’ll say nothing.
Nothing. NOTHING!!! What a film. I think my favourite thing about the film is how it almost never feels on the nose or contrived despite the fact that it’s a film about time travel featuring young assassin characters who dress in twentieth century fusion clothing, which should be annoying (like it is in real life) but isn’t. I like that the references to other great sci-fi films are so completely in the open and brazen and obvious but don’t break the experience of this unique film. I love that the ending made sense. I love that the little boy is not annoying but is in fact a great little character. I love that Joe doesn’t just become his “dad” although they unquestionably have a bit of a bond brewing over the shared circumstances of their past.
I love that the scariest and most suspenseful moment of the whole film is when Cid and Joe are chatting in the kitchen while Cid’s mother is asleep and the fire engine toy goes off. I love that this film makes sense, and is honest about cheating where it has to, particularly regarding the time travel. I love that a character actually has a line where he says they’re not going to talk about time travel, makes fun of movies where they do, and then moves us along. I love that Bruce Willis nails that performance. I love that the whole thing doesn’t even come close to breaking my suspension of disbelief even though for just a second Bruce Willis is doing the equivalent of looking at the camera and winking at me.
Though of course, he doesn’t. This is the big thrill for me watching Looper. I’ve seen it said online that the film is in many ways an anti-Prometheus and I agree completely. Prometheus, in many ways, took less risks despite its supposed commitment to leading the audience to ask questions and think about the film. The problem with inviting the audience to think about Prometheus is that the more one thinks about Prometheus the more one realises it could have been a really cool film but is a mess and doesn’t make much sense. Looper is different however, because it’s telling what is in many ways a very simple story wrapped up in a narrative that is far from simple. Rian Johnson is effectively telling us “This is going to be tough, but it’s going to be fun, and you can handle it.”
And we can handle it. Why wouldn’t we be able to? I love this film and I need to see it again, not least because I like being reminded that I’m not an idiot when so much of our cultural output now seems convinced that the majority of human society have barely enough intelligence to follow a basic semblance of a plot. Hence, you know, Transformers. So thank you Rian Johnson and everyone involved for making a great film. Including Paul Dano. I’m sorry Paul, I’m sure you’re a lovely fella, and I don’t find your face offensive in any real aesthetic way. I still felt bad when your character met his sticky, sticky end.
Yeah. That part was amazing as well.