Favorite

Future shock 

'Looper' mostly stands up to scrutiny.

[image-1]

In about 30 years, according to "Looper," we won't yet have time travel, though we will have designer drugs that we apply with droppers directly onto our eyeballs, and a few people will have starter-kit-grade telekinetic powers. Thirty years beyond that, however, there will be time travel, albeit controlled by organized crime. When the mobsters of the future want someone whacked cleanly, they bind them, toss them into a time machine and ship 'em back in time, where assassins called loopers stand ready to pull a trigger, at a designated hour and location. The bodies are disposed of and never found, because who ever thinks to look for a corpse 30 years in the past?

In an interview with the website io9, writer/director Rian Johnson likened time-travel movies to magic tricks that need to withstand scrutiny only in the instant of the performance. It was his way of apologizing in advance, maybe, for any inevitable plot holes arising when you're slinging characters across space and time, and killing off different versions of them along the way. But "Looper" benefits from enough internal consistency to hold the whole shebang together as a creative, grisly, nerd-pleasing ride stuffed with ample sick thrills, even for a dystopian vision of time-traveling assassins.

Key to the plot is the conundrum when an assassin is sent back to be shot by his own younger self ("closing the loop," in the parlance). Early on, an assassin played by Paul Dano comes crashing into the home of our hero assassin, Joe, played by a darkly dashing Joseph Gordon-Levitt, explaining that he just couldn't shoot his future self. But the criminal syndicate — headed, with villainous insouciance, by Jeff Daniels, of all people — doesn't abide loose ends. Dano's sad-sack assassin is apprehended and held, and soon the old assassin, on the lam, is reading instructions that are carved as scar tissue on his arm. Soon after, his fingers start vanishing. When someone is holding the you of the past, it's a cinch that they can pretty much get you to do whatever they want.

The crux of the action comes when Gordon-Levitt has to face down his future self, played by Bruce Willis, who is a cool future self to have just so long as he doesn't beat you unconscious when you're supposed to shoot him in the chest, per your job description. Soon a twisted manhunt is afoot: Joe aims to kill Old Joe, the mob tries to kill the both of them, and Old Joe tries to head off his own crappy fate by finding and capping the future's most feared criminal kingpin, known only as the Rainmaker, who happens to be a child in the very same city as our overlapping manhunts.

One possible young Rainmaker is a little boy (a precociously freaky Pierce Gagnon) at the farmhouse of an ax-swinging Emily Blunt. The second half of the film runs future-rustic, as your time-traveling mindbender fare collides with menacing boonies. Should you shoot a kid who's going to become a monster? Should you kill your future self if it means saving your life right now? Honestly, does it really make any sense to have loopers assigned to shooting themselves? Does Gordon-Levitt's prosthetics make him look like a young Bruce Willis or just botoxed?

And then, like that, it all wraps. Maybe it is sleight-of-hand, but maybe Johnson is onto something more enduring. For all its flash and bang, "Looper" transcends mere parlor trick — or, at the very least, maintains that heady illusion until the end.

Favorite

Film Details

  • Looper

    • Rated R - Action/Adventure, SciFi/Fantasy
Looper
Rated R · 118 min. · 2012
Official Site: www.loopermovie.com
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Producer: Ram Bergman and James D. Stern
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Bruce Willis, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Tracie Thoms, Noah Segan and David Jensen

Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Looper

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Sam Eifling

  • Hotrod heaven

    New "Mad Max" full of death defying stunts and sublimely tricked-out cars.
    • May 21, 2015
  • Left behind

    High school reunion comedy 'D Train' takes a subversive turn.
    • May 14, 2015
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Review: Jimmy Buffet at Verizon Arena

    It's good to be Jimmy Buffett. He's got his own brand of beer, Landshark. And his own bar/restaurant chain, tequila brand and Sirius-XM radio channel, all named Margaritaville.
    • Mar 7, 2012
  • Redneck security

    On 'Small Town Security' and 'The Regular Show.'
    • Aug 15, 2012
  • Worst loss ever

    All the spillage of words this week won't change what happened, but it'll damn sure be cathartic.
    • Sep 12, 2012

Most Shared

  • Womack gets plucked by 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver'

    HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which premiered last April, has consistently shown itself to be a Daily Show-level contender for the humor-news crown. Up for discussion on the show last night: the myriad ways major poultry producers exploit chicken farmers. Also featured in the video: Arkansas Republican Rep. Steve Womack, who gets plucked and roasted for placing a rider on the agriculture appropriations bill that forbids the USDA from enforcing already-written protections for the nation's poultry farmers.
  • Magazine obtains police report over Josh Duggar sexual molestation investigation; he admits past 'mistakes,' resigns Family Council job

    In Touch magazine reports that it has obtained a Springdale police report containing allegations of sexual misconduct against an unnamed teen that it says it has confirmed was Josh Duggar, a minor at the time and now a prominent lobbyist for the Family Research Council and a leading voice for legal discrimination against gay people.
  • State budget administrator Brandon Sharp fired; no reason given

    KATV reports that Brandon Sharp was fired Monday afternoon after four years as state budget administrator, a $101,000-a-year job in the Department of Finance and Administration.
  • KATV: Bill Walker's state agency approves grants to sister UPDATE

    KATV has dug up on questionable public dealings by a familiar figure — former state Sen. Bill Walker, who headed the state Career Education Department during the administration of Gov. Mike Beebe.
  • What's not to love about the Bentonville Film Festival? Walmart.

    The Bentonville Film Festival, launched this year by actress Geena Davis and held earlier this month from May 5-9, earned a number of largely positive notices from major outlets like the Huffington Post ("At the Bentonville Film Festival, Women Are Playing in the Major Leagues"), the L.A. Times ("Bentonville Film Festival pushes diversity message from year one") and the New York Times ("Bentonville, Ark., Hosts a Film Festival Without a Movie Theater"), most of them centering on its unique and vital agenda — promoting diversity and gender equality in filmmaking — and its celebrity cache (e.g. an acting workshop taught by Robert De Niro, a softball game led by Rosie O'Donnell, etc.).

Latest in Movie Reviews

Event Calendar

« »

May

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31  

Most Viewed

  • Big on Benintendi

    The spring has been, if nothing else, an unprecedented one for Arkansas Razorback individualism. Bobby Portis took his justly due hardware as SEC Player of the Year and now hopes to parlay that into a first-round selection by an NBA team that wants to develop his considerable skills for a couple of years.
  • Hotrod heaven

    New "Mad Max" full of death defying stunts and sublimely tricked-out cars.
  • Slang at Stickyz

    Also, Butler Center Books launch party at the Main Library, Gringo Star at Maxine's, "The Member of the Wedding" at the Weekend Theater, the Stickyz Riverfest stage, "Colors of Rhythm" at UALR.
  • Bone, Bone, Bone, Bone

    An interview with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's Krayzie Bone.
 

© 2015 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation