Monday, 1 October 2012

Looper Review

It was arguably the 1999 release of the undeniably awesome 'The Matrix' that initially transformed the dynamics of a simple action. Many attempted to replicate its success in the years following but many failed, ignoring the classic formula that The Matrix devised. It wasn't until 2010's Inception that such a cinematic revolution was replicated. Instead of spectacular action, Inception provided a more sophisticated attitude, treating the audience like civilized intelligent people by displaying a puzzling narrative of a variety of platforms. Two years later, Looper a time travel mind-bender is hoping to make it's mark on the constant evolution of the genre of Sci-fi.

 Set in a steam punk dystopian future where time-travel is relevant yet very much illegal, Looper follows Joe (Joseph Gordon -Levitt) a hit man with complications, eradicating criminals from the future as their sent back from the past. Following a strict set of rules Joe must deliver an immediate blow to the futuristic perpetrator, it's not until his future self is blasted back that he procrastinates and produces our film. This concept initially proved simple through a helpful briefing from the protagonist himself, highlighting key points of interest to prevent unnecessary confusion. However as the film progressed the story began to develop further it began scattering plot devices to create for a more intelligent, more enticing narrative than expected.

 Considering that this film juggles a handful of tricky plot devices, it does a good job in retaining control ,making sense of each one. Never did the story over complicate itself with sci-fi jargon, instead it remained relatively simple, helping the audience to understand, rather than bogging them down with convoluted nonsense. Although the future world remains forever present throughout,  the film never lingers too long in fear of confusing the audience with yet another vision of the future. A medical revelation has also been uncovered, which unfortunately follows in the same traits as the remainder of the future technologies, left to be accepted rather than be explained. Although this device was used to brilliant effect, a brief explanation of how it came to realization would've been appreciated in order to create a larger sense of realism. This device which soon turns out to be an extremely important sub-plot, is somewhat awkward to the hugely believable world which has been accurately portrayed, frustratingly detracting the audience from the hugely thrilling action of the loopers. As said however this device is executed brilliantly even if it doesn't really fit into the tone set by the film, and produces the plot which makes the film considerably more unique than it's competitors.

Linking the juxtaposing story lines were the two protagonists and the unlikely poorly trained anti-hero who supplies nothing but comedy value. Consistently failing to impress his boss he remains determined to take down Joe, hunting him down only for him to carelessly slip through his fingers in utterly ridiculous fashion. He's simply used as a utility character, if scenes are dragging, it will usually cut to him failing at his job, to then provide a mindless action scene where he'll yet again attempt to take down his enemy only to be left embarrassed on the floor. Rarely do the characters refer to him or even acknowledge that he's there, he's a totally unnecessary character that only blocks the fantastic view that the film provides.

 While Looper may not posses the skills to be quite as good as it's sci-fi counterparts it certainly creates a prominent stamp on the genre. Through the excellent performances from the prosthetic face of the increasingly surprising Joseph Gordon- Levitt and his rough-cut future self, Bruce Willis, a truly magnificent story can be taken, following the worryingly accurate vision of time travel.

85%- Dark, gritty and never afraid to break stereotypical conventions.

Calum Russell


  1. Good review Russell. The plot makes perfect sense even if it may seem a bit confusing at first, and the suspense draws you in but something just did not mix so well in the end. I didn’t really care all that much for the characters and that’s sort of why the pay-off didn’t do much for me.

  2. Thanks, and yea I agree the story had an annoying inconsistency towards the end creating for a slightly more disappointing climax than what could have been conjured. Ignoring that however I did find it thoroughly enjoyable, although it's certainly not the best film of the year it's definitely in the top 10! Thanks for the comment!