This summer we had an immensely hyped film which posed as a Science Fiction film yet eventually it turned out to be all pretense and not that much Sci-Fi substance. Does Looper suffer the same fate?
In a dystopian future where timetravel has been invented and instantly outlawed only the biggest criminal organisations use those time-devices to get rid of people in their way. We follow Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is a looper – meaning he executes those people who are sent back in time.
The possible setup
In a shameless cash-in an aged action star is thrown together with an upcoming hottie. The story is hastily put together and timetravel is used as the gimmick to get the story going. It turns out that in the future an evil overlord is doing bad things so Willis and Gordon-Levitt have to team up for a slow motion final showdown…
At least that was the impression I got from the first trailer of Looper. Instead of this the film is a very strange and thought provoking mix and especially the first hour is just a fantastic energetic rush of fascinating ideas.
Not the thing with spaceships
With Looper the Science Fiction genre is showing its muscles again and proves that you don’t need spaceships for Sci-Fi storytelling. Compared to Looper Prometheus looks like the little kid listening to Linkin Park and thinking it is heavy metal. The first half of the movie is just a delightful setup of the future and defies the 30 million dollars budget. If one compares this with John Carter‘s 250-350 million dollars and one is left to marvel at what director Rian Johnson and the crew have done with so much less.
The movie is not without its logical holes. But those holes are inherent in almost every timetravel movie. What is more important is that Johnson and crew are consistent within their set of rules. So while the timetravel does not really make much sense on the level of causality it still works within the movie so there are no contradictions in the screenplay’s logic – something that is indeed rare in the timetravel genre. Plus there is enough room for a completely symbolic interpretation of what the loop might actually be.
Furthermore while the setup is a bit contradictory it gives a new spin when it connects timetravel to memories, probabilities and the idea of identity – and if a movie offers me so much interesting food for thoughts I gladly forgive it the illogical device that brings those ideas onto the screen.
Looper is probably the most pleasant surprise I had since Rise of the Planet of the Apes.