By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
Time travel is central to “Looper,” and that’s where the movie loses its way.
We meet Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in the mid-21st century. Time travel hasn’t been invented yet, but it will be invented a few decades later.
So in Joe’s future, mobsters control time machines. They send victims back to a specific time and place, where a looper like Joe kills them and disposes of the bodies.
Joe’s a messed up young man. He’s hooked on a futuristic drug and he’s got a thing for a prostitute (Piper Perabo), who cares more about watching the clock than she does about him.
He also knows he’s on borrowed time because his fellow loopers have been killing the older versions of themselves. Before long Joe finds himself face to face with Old Joe (Bruce Willis).
Something goes wrong – or maybe goes right – and Old Joe escapes. He’s got a mission and he’s not going to let Young Joe stop him, though it’s in his interest to make sure Young Joe doesn’t get killed because that would skew the circuits of time.
I didn’t think Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis looked much alike, but I was willing to suspend disbelief. The pair give solid performances in a film that’s filled with good work, especially from Emily Blunt, who plays the mother of a kid who’s more than he seems.
Jeff Daniels is nicely greasy as a mob boss sent back from the future to run the looper program. On the other hand, Paul Dano doesn’t get much to work with as Seth, a looper who becomes an object lesson for Joe.
My problem is with the nature of that object lesson and what it says about the movie’s use of time travel.
Basically, things happen that are never explained. There doesn’t seem to be an overriding logic to the movie’s use of time travel. Maybe we’re supposed to make up our own minds, but that’s not possible without knowing the “physics” of this fictional world.
“Looper” has its high points. It’s hard to go wrong by putting a gun in Willis’ hands; he’s an artist when it comes to fictional carnage. But the rules of time travel never make sense, so I must deduct style points from an otherwise engaging thriller.
I give “Looper” a C.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.
Kelli Karlson Wizard 106.7 She gives “Looper” a C minus.
“Trying to understand it makes my head hurt, but I may have to see it again to figure out what confused me.”