You live your life and then wish, ‘If I could go into the past, I would change this or do things this way…’ What if your wish came true? What if you get to live life twice – one, your complete life and the other in the past? Sounds complicated, but Looper is sure to make you scratch your brains or like Abe (Jeff Daniels) says, “Time-travel is f***ed up, it will fry your brain like an egg!”
The plot: A futuristic movie, a science-fiction, a gangster movie. No, they’re not three different movies, it’s Rian Johnson’s Looper which combines elements of all three genres and more.
Set in 2044, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper; a futuristic word for contract killer. He kills people from 2074 in exchange for silver bricks. Don’t get confused, take it slowly. The time-machine hasn’t been invented in 2044, but it has been invented in 2074, ie 30 years later. Through this time-machine, a mob sends people back to 2044 to kill their victims as it was easier to ‘take care of” those dead bodies in 2044 than in 2074. The killers are Loopers, the victims are their Loops. High and doped on life, women and drugs, young and frivolous Joe is happy to kill a few, grab a few bucks and make that dream trip to France.
But things aren’t as dreamy as they seemed. Before dying, his best friend Seth (Paul Dano) tells him about a Rainmaker who is causing mayhem in the future. You get to kill your future self for golden bricks, an early retirement from the job and you die 30 years after you have killed your loop. Suddenly, it’s not very appealing anymore.
Cut to the future. Future Joe (Bruce Willis), is a changed man, a happy man. Retiring from the looper’s job, he runs out of money after a point but soon gets his life back on track thanks to his wife. Now he is determined to stop this Rainmaker and the loopers from killing him, his wife or anyone else. What happens when Joe meets Joe? Will the future end for young Joe or will the past change for the old Joe? Will he succeed in killing the Rainmaker?
The good: The concept, acting, cinematography, special effects – yes, all of them without exception are the strong points of the film. Writer-director Rian Johnson gives high priority to the development of his story and brings out performances to match the speed of his movie. Joseph Gordon Levitt is superb as the young Bruce Willis. He gets it perfectly right, with the crinkled brow look and the devil-may-care attitude. Bruce Willis’ presence further lifts the film. Little Cid Pierce Gagnon is an exceptionally adorable child-artiste who emotes with the ease of a seasoned actor.
The film is sprinkled with humour and even dark humour at times. “I am going to France,” says Joe; “Listen to me, I am from the future, go to China,” says Abe (Jeff Daniels), his boss. This and many such smartly written instances will surely make you smile amidst the horror and confusion of killings and time-travel.
AJ Gillespie, who did the animation for The Avengers, works wonders with Looper as well. Cid’s outburst is so beautifully (and grossly at the same time) portrayed on screen that it completely scares you. And all the twists in the tale will only make you sit on the edge of your seat.
The bad: The dizzy time-travelling will make you fuzzy in the head while it takes some time to figure out what’s really going on. Try not to get frustrated. Also, you will get lost in the middle and the 1 hr 58 min movie will seem a bit longer; but that’s just for a while.
Overall: The beauty of Looper is that it is not just a sci-fi tale with hi-end gadgets and flying cars. It has a story, it has a soul and it has the ability to make you think. Loop the Looper as one of your weekend treats.
– Priyanka Ketkar