Archive | October, 2012

Yih bleedin’ ‘Looper’ (2012)

29 Oct

Waking up at 5pm today, following a loooooooooong midnight shift at work, dad informed me of his desire to catch a movie. “Sure”, I thought. “Something nice and uncomplicated to ease my poor, tired brain”. What’ll it be dad? Skyfall? Frankenweenie? I’d even settle for the latest Madagascar – those films are awesome, regardless of what anyone else says. But no, dad wanted to see Looper, the latest instalment in a recent trend of movies obsessed with the notion of time travel; it follows Inception, Source Code and In Time. I’d been dying to see Looper for a while, so with a certain degree of exhausted trepidation I thought I’d check it out.

Looper is a rare beast in that it’s an easily followed and understandable film which deals with an incredibly abstract and theoretical concept – that of time travel. While the aforementioned flicks, as well as classics such as The Matrix and Twelve Monkeys, are often hounded for being convuluted masses of cryptic, indecipherable yet fascinating puzzles, Looper is quite straightforward. It follows Joe Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), one of several hitmen sent from the future by the mafia to execute the enemies of their masters, themselves sent to the past. You see, time travel has been discovered thirty years from the film’s setting (2044) and with the future’s enhanced tracking technology, disposing of bodies is quite tough. So, the mafia’s prisoners are sent back thirty years to be ‘taken care of’.

The movie manages to splice together two of my favourite aspects of science fiction: time travel and dystopia. By 2044, the United States has suffered total economic collapse, and the undisclosed city in Kansas in which the film is set is overrun with crime and poverty. Essentially, it has become a more steampunk version of Gotham. The griminess and general dark tones of the city contrast with the tranquillity and brightness of the Southern countryside, where a significant portion of the movie is based. The lighting indoors is excellent, and several different camera angles are utilised to great effect. Long periods of silence between dialogues is used in an almost Tarantino-esque way; characters convey clear and distinct messages with the slightest of gestures or facial expressions.

Casting was excellently handled in this film. Gordon-Levitt plays the delightfully unrelatable asshole to absolute perfection; his character reminds me greatly of Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes, in that he is a completely unlikeable yet oddly endearing assassin who doubles as a sociopath. Bruce Willis is a very convincing doppelgänger for Gordon-Levitt, which is helpful as he plays Joe from the future. Without giving away too much of the plot, a young kid is introduced in the latter third of the film, and he deserves special mention for being simply adorable.

A classy, sophisticated and very well-made film, Looper was a very pleasant surprise. Very much ‘my thing’, I’d rank it just as highly as most of the previously-mentioned dimension-hopping flicks. Here in Ireland it’s almost left the cinemas; I’d encourage any and all Irish readers of this to catch it while you can. Those internationals among you have hopefully seen it already – it probably left the USA and other places ages ago. Highly recommended!

Simon says: time travelling assassination, what more could you ask for?!

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