Looper is the latest in the series of “The best films I failed to see in 2012“. I am interrupting painting the kitchen to tell you what I thought about this film.
That is how important it is for my thoughts to be heard!
So, Looper is a kind of science fiction film, I guess. The film is set in the future – 2074 to be precise. “Loopers” are essentially paid assassins who are sent back in time to kill other people the “the mob” sends back 3o years from the year…er… 2104. I’ll be honest, I had to look that bit up. It was hard to follow whether people were being set back in time or forward in time.
Thats not really the problem with this film though. It was generally enjoyable as a kind of thriller, if you tried really hard not to think about the time travel bit. Its too easy to get drawn into the “yes but, if that changes in the past then that will never have happened debate”. Surely this has only ever been pulled off effectively in movieland by the 80’s classic “Back to the Future” series!
Anyway, Joseph Gordon Levitt stars as Joe, one of the assassins. Bruce Willis (despite looking nothing like Levitt) starts as the “Joe” of the future, although you only actually see him when he’s in his past, or current Joe’s present. Are you following me…?!
You can probably guess where the plot is going now and I don’t really class this as a spoiler, as its the whole set-up of the movie. So yes, you’ve guessed it. Future Joe (Willis) is one of several loopers sent back in time to be killed by their own younger self.
Again this part of the plot I find a bit unconvincing. So, the mob bosses assume that people will be OK with killing their future selves, thus ensuring that they will live for exactly 30 more years and no more. A bit of a stretch.
My biggest problem with the film though, wasn’t the dubious plot, or inner existential debate that the time travel plot provoked. It was that I just didn’t care enough about the lead character. The film hints at an interesting back story, but you never really get enough of it. Essentially this means you largely view the main character as a cold assassin. Other key characters in the film are also deeply flawed.
Now I’m not saying that you can’t sympathise with morally dubious, or indeed morally reprehensible characters. Classic and modern literature and movies are littered with them. The trick is that the author/screenwriter/director makes them likeable in other ways. The issue with this film is that the main characters are flawed to the extent, that you don’t really know whether its a good thing if they are allowed to live or not.
If you don’t bother to make the characters likeable in some way, then the audience has the option to not care. My “caring muscle” was bared flexed in this film. If you finish watching a film and shrug your shoulders at the ending, its probably not a great sign.
I’ve maybe been a little harsh. Looper is a long way from being the worst film I’ve seen. The plot does just about hang together and it can surprise in parts.
I’d probably give it about 6 out of 10 if I was rating these films, which it appears I now am…