Thursday, October 18, 2012

Looper (2012)

Written in a guidebook buried deep within the subconscious of the modern movie goer are the words "if you think too hard about it, it'll only hurt... so stop, and just enjoy the show." Perhaps no subcategory of cinema pries more upon that sentimentality than a movie whose primary plot revolves around time travel. And it desperately needs it, because a movie goer brings so much baggage to the table already.

See, by one influence or another, so many people have developed their own theory - or better put, subscribe to a particular theory - on how time travel ought to work. With the exception of surviving a zombie apocalypse or an extraterrestrial invasion, the methodology of time travel may be one of the most over theorized subjects that currently exist beyond the scope of modern reality.

So I wasn't in the least bit surprised when, after a solid bit of world building introduction and time traveling foundation laying, Looper quickly dived head first into the world it created. So engrossed in its creation is Looper that at any point in the film in which a character is thrust into a scenario where an audience member might call upon the film to explain itself, another character is stationed an appropriate distance away to rid us of any such ill desires.

Which is all well and good... assuming of course you're not stuck in an audience, positioned directly in front of an elderly couple who clearly did not get the memo. It would be even worse if said couple were to... I don't know, let's just say constantly point out in as loud of a whisper as possible without being considered outright conversation, everything the film isn't explaining and just how confused that makes them. Such was the positioning of one Univarn during his outing to see Rian Johnson's Looper.

As you might imagination Looper would have to overcome quite some heavy hurdles to keep me engaged for the entire running time. I am most happy to report, it did.

In fact Looper was such an engaging experience that I was able to simultaneously digest both the film and the yapping couple. Allowing me to wallow in the joyous feeling of my mind digesting Looper, and then using the digestion to crush the unwanted influence of the couple. This is most undoubtedly helped by Rian Johnson's near perfect blend of tone, style, substance, influence, and dialogue. From his work on Brick and The Brothers Bloom to now Looper, one of the things I can safely say about Rian Johnson as a writer and a director is that I've yet to watch a movie of his and feel as if something isn't right. That's not to say his movies are perfect by any stretch, just that they always feel as if every sequence is in absolute harmony with those that preceded it and those that follow it.

This is especially important when you factor in that Looper is less a time traveling movie than an fantasy character action/drama which just so happens to be set in a world that contains the ability to travel in time (at least in the world's future). Time Travel comes and goes as is needed by the plot, but Rian Johnson does an exceptional job at not making much of an issue out of it. Much like the world in which the character's inhabit, Looper deals with travel as something of a mystery, but not one any of the central characters are in any hurry to figure out. As Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Bruce Willis) points out very early on, their not really the forward thinking type.

Still, I must admit I would have liked a little bit more. For as much time as we spend with young Joe (Levitt), and eventually the surrounding cast of Old Joe (Willis), Sara (Emily Blunt), and Kid Blue (Noah Segan), I always felt like the film reserved a bit too much of the characters' back story. With the exception of Old Joe, I suppose. Of course, I could have missed many elements of the film as I find it incredibly difficult to not look at Jeff Daniels and imagine what he would be like if he were a golden retriever... then again, who doesn't?

The way Looper handled itself worked sublimely for my tastes. Even if i want to knock on the film for those things that I have hereto written, I can't work up the effort to really hold it against the movie. After all, what more positive praise can a move be given than successfully cleansing one's mind of the whining and moaning of a very confused couple?

3 better thoughts:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't know why this film confused some people.
Time travel was such a small part of the film and I thought the story handled it well.
I applaud it for doing something not only really different but really intelligent.

Brittani Burnham said...

I don't know why some people are confused about it either. I thought it was all explained very well. Anywho, I loved Looper. I'm glad you're back to blogging. :)

Anonymous said...

It's a very interesting concept that's done well, I just wish more development was put into the characters and trying to make us feel something, anything for them. Good review. Glad to see you back in action.

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