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Sunday, October 28, 2012

This is Your Loop (an analytical film review)

Looper is writer/director Rian Johnson’s (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) exploration of time travel and it’s effects on one man as he tries to rid the past of its wrongs and the future of its harmful repetitive patterns.

By 2072, time travel has been invented and immediately outlawed. However, the mob is using it in secret to get rid of undesirables by sending them into the past to be assassinated by a Looper. Joe Simon (Joseph Gordon- Levitt), is one of these men in 2044, where our story takes place. All is good until he must close the Loop. Joe must kill his old self.

Old Joe (Bruce Willis) is living in the year 2072. In a montage of flash forwards, we see him sowing his wild oats and ultimately reforming his life by moving overseas and getting married. However, when the clock ticks and his time is up, Old Joe is not ready to let it all go. In his capture, his wife is caught in the crossfire, spurring him to return to the past and avenge his wife’s death. Allowing Young Joe and Old Joe to meet and reluctantly work together to get their lives back.

The mob is after both Joe and Old Joe, forcing them to seek refuge. Joe, instructed by Old Joe, goes to a farm where he meets Sara (Emily Blunt) and her son Cid.  Old Joe hides out on the streets. Joe learns quickly that Cid is suspicious and Sara’s hiding something.

Johnson tackles time travel with a unique and fresh look, both with his writing and his direction. The futuristic elements of the movie are inventive and give a sense of reality, which makes this world plausible. The screenplay is fast paced and not bogged down with extensive narratives explaining the often times boring logistics of time travel.  The film is really not about going into the future or the past, those concepts are merely the backdrop. Ultimately, it explores the patterns that life delivers and how we manage to break them. How we alter the loop.

Levitt delivers a solid performance by creating a very truthful version of a younger Bruce Willis. Despite the overly applied makeup of make-up artist Kazuhiro Tsuji, Levitt does manage to keep his character grounded. I think that with a role like this it could have easily spun out of control resulting in a poor Bruce Willis imitation. Levitt accomplished the balancing act of small Willis-like mannerisms with a unique character that was all his own.

However, it is Willis’ performance that really stands out. He is strong and vulnerable and is a great leader for a story that could have easily turned farcical. Willis displays confidence and control, showing the audience that even in his older years, he can still tackle tough action scenes with ease. The highlight of his performance lies in his scenes with Levitt. The actors work together to create a very interesting dynamic that allows them both to really shine.

Blunt turns in an interesting performance with her portrayal of an anxious mother trying to protect her son. She dons a Southern accent, which is fairly consistent. However, like Levitt, she looks a little different. Her hair is lighter, she wears little to no make-up and is in a much more vulnerable role than I think audiences have seen her before.

Looper is an interesting and new look into the sci-fi world. The film excels with its unique use of special effects resulting in some jaw-dropping moments. The attention to detail in both the set design and the props should be not overlooked. Looper is a different kind of movie that I haven't seen before, the clichés are minimal and the imaginative elements fly.

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