Some films have that special something, and some films seem like they stepped in something. Allow me to help you know the difference, and maybe find you something good to watch.
LOOPER – (2012 / sci-fi / one hour & 56 minutes / Rated R / written & directed by Rian Johnson / actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano)
I think, even if I didn’t recognize that name, I’d be immediately on-board with watching this based solely on the premise. I mean, I love hit-man movies AND time-travel movies, so you put them together and it’s like peanut-butter and ladies. Alright.
But, in fact, I DO recognize the name Rian Johnson, and his two previous films have absolutely floored me.
His first was in 2006 and it was the smart and stylish neo-noir adolescent hard-boiled detective thriller BRICK (also starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and he followed it two years later with the quirky and stylish ode-to-conman-films neo-meta-fable THE BROTHERS BLOOM. They’re great.
You should watch both of them. Period.
Now, four years later he arrives with his third film, LOOPER, and it’s a courageous leap into the dangerous realm of time-travel-films.
And it IS a dangerous sub-genre. Either the logic has to work out, or it needs to be entertaining enough to distract you from noticing. The best ones do both. The majority do neither. This one, I’m afraid, seems at first to be well thought-out (and it IS a fresh and interesting take on time-travel), but closer examination only brings evidence that a loop is just another word for a hole. And I sure do see them here.
But the thing is: I don’t care. I had a great time. Everything else was spot-on, great characters, acting, and the momentum of the story just took me right through to the end with a minimum of bumps.
Although, on top of the time-travel-inconsistencies, were there a couple of questionable decisions made? Yes, I think so. I have my qualms, and so, no, it doesn’t rank as solid in my book as BRICK and THE BROTHERS BLOOM.
But LOOPER is such a darkly creative, and well-crafted film that it most definitely deserves a watch or two. Perhaps with a second viewing, my own issues with the wrinkles in time may get ironed out.
Pseudo-mathematically, I might suggest that:
(THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT+BLADE RUNNER) x THE PROFESSIONAL=LOOPER
Thematically, of course, is what I’m comparing. As I’ve made clear, I don’t think LOOPER is in the same league as THE PRO or BLADE RUNNER. But thematically they look quite comfortable together.
Either way, I will continue to look forward to watching whatever Rian Johnson comes out with next.
Perhaps the horror genre is next on his list of genres to turn upside down. Or Western? Or if he’s sticking with hybrid’s, maybe zombie-samurai? (yes please)
Who knows. But I’ll be there regardless. It’s nice when you can expect a certain level of quality from a director, and no matter what the subject is, it’s sure to be a wild ride.