Movie Review: Staying in the Loop
I'm here with another review and this time it's about a movie that's still in theaters. (Plot Twist!) During the weekend of Fall Fest, I had the pleasure of watching the movie Looper. What is Looper about? In the year 2044, the world has taken a turn for the worse, poverty seems to be commonplace in all countries and the richest people are the ones who work for a group of crime syndicates called “Loopers.” Loopers, we learn, are paid assassins who kill victims from 2074—the year in which time travel has been invented. When the Looper's contractor wants to erase evidence of illegal time travel, they send back the future version of the Looper,to be killed by his past version,thus closing the loop. Our protagonist is one of these Loopers named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). The story begins when his 30 older version (Bruce Willis) is sent back for him to kill…but things go horribly wrong, and his future version escapes.. For the remainder of the movie, Joe’s primary motive is to kill his older version before his contractor punishes him. His future version, however, has his own agenda. Once again, there might be some spoilers, but I will try to keep the most important plot points under wraps.
Before I discuss the main protagonists, I want to give some props to the supporting cast. Emily Blunt was excellent as the tough single-mom, Sara. Her character started out as unapproachable, but as the story continues you begin to realize that she's just fiercely dedicated to protecting her son. The rest of the cast also is in top form. Among the cast are some you would probably not expect to see in this sort of movie; names like Jeff Daniels and Piper Perabo. A breakout award definitely goes to young Pierce Gagnon as Sara's son Cid. Good child actors are few and far between and this role was not even close toeasy. Gagnon had a role where he was required to be likable yet frightening, and he pulled it off superbly.
Now as for our leads, I will have to tackle them both separately. I'll start with Bruce Willis because he is the more experienced one. I can say with confidence that few people have not seen a movie with Willis. Right now he could be consideredamong the greats, and everybody knows him as one of the foremost action stars. The Willis movie that first convinced me of his talent is a comedy called 'The Kid'. (Ironically, the plot also involved a younger version of him.) I suppose in that movie I realized that I liked Willis as an actor. In Looper, Willis has aged well. Not only are his action scenes superb, but the dramatic scenes are just as intense. The second lead, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, has also been a force to be reckoned with in the past few years. As a kid, one of my favorite movies was 'Angels in the Outfield', and even back then he was one of those rare “good child actors.” (And yes, I'll admit that I had a tiny crush on him… but in my defense, now everybody has one.) Levitt has matured nicely into the industry, something that anyone who has seen 'Inception' can attest to. This performance tone that I think serves as the best exhibition of talent in his career.
Now, the burning question is, did they pull of playing the same person? According to some behind-the-scenes research I did, both actors studied each other’s speech patterns and mannerisms to give a more realistic performance, and I would say that they did well. There is one scene in which young Joe and old Joe are talking in a dinner that Levitt's character frequents, and in that moment I was nervous that the waitress might recognize Willis to be the same person as Levitt. However, there is only so much a cinematic performance can do convince you that two people are the same person, which brings me to my next point.
I don't often think about make-up design in movies, but for this one I have to give mad props to the artists in charge of Levitt's prosthetic. If the acting didn't sell you, then the make-up will, because they did an amazing job working to make his jawbone structure look like something that would eventually morph into a Bruce Willis jaw line. One of my favorite scenes is a transition of the thirty years that passed between Levitt and Willis' time-line. The seamless transition between actors was awesome to watch. Somebody had better give the make-up department an award for this.
On a related note, the soundtrack for this movie was also very fitting. It was mostly typical “intense action movie” orchestral pieces that one is used to, but for some of the fight scenes we were treated to some dubstep-esque melodies, which really made the action feel even more heart-stopping.
Another plus for this movie was the setting. It might not have been the most optimistic view of the future, but the look of it was very close to home. There was the usual futuristic technology that one finds in movies of this genre, and even some random people telekinetically making coins float, but the essense of the movie made you feel like it all really wasn’t too far removed from where we are today. The atmosphere had a vaguely Steampunk feel, with a bit of a “technological/Victorian” vibe about the whole setting.This movie is what I like to call an intelligent action flick. Sure the action was very exciting, but the focus was still on the story. It was about the characters and how far they are willing to go for the things they want to protect. It also does its best to keep the loop-holes (pun definitely intended), that usually come with time travel stories to a bare minimum. As much as I like this movie, it is R rated, which means the violence wasbloody, there was rampant swearing, drug abuse of the eye-dropping variety, and a couple sketchy nude scenes. However, the nudity was pretty much over with by the first act and mostly serves to set a tone of the self-indulgent life-style that Levitt's character leads. Still, I probably wouldn't take children or my mom to this movie. Teenager perhaps, if they're mature about it. I give this movie 4/5 Yellow Hoodies, because even though I can understand Rian Johnson's creative decision, I could have done without the raciness. If you don't want to take my word for it, see what other people are saying at Rotten Tomatoes. Have a great week, hope to write again soon!