Looper (2012) – 3/5

Clumsy, awkwardly directed/written mess with an interesting, though convoluted and largely nonsensical story and a few cool moments here and there that don’t really make up for the film’s pretty glaring narrative/logical/scientific flaws. It’s also just not a very good film, which is surprising given the director, though, again, it has its moments, and it is ambitious. I don’t know, I was just expecting more from Rian Johnson, who made the brilliant, extremely well shot film “Brick” a few years back for about 1/200th the budget. He seems to have taken a step back with this one, though more so with direction than with story, not that the story is anything to write home about either. He was way in over his head here, in other words, and it shows.

The film is very pedestrian in execution. Scenes are stale and not very interestingly shot, or even all that engaging for that matter, especially moments where it’s just two characters talking. The acting too is really stiff for the most part, the exception being Emily Blunt who somehow manages to bring some life into her otherwise completely unrealistic character. She’s also drop dead gorgeous here, just stunning and sexy in her skimpy workman’s clothes; she’s the best thing in the film, actually, even if her role doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. A woman that looks like that living alone on a farm in the middle of nowhere? Come on.

The writing here is all over the place. The concept is interesting, but the execution ultimately didn’t make much sense to me. What is a looper exactly? Why does one have to “close the loop” at 30 years? Why would it matter if they just let them keep living? Why does **SPOILERS** the Rainmaker want to “close the loops” by killing off all the old loopers in the future? If it’s to prevent his mother from dying in the past, why would killing their old selves in the future matter? And in regard to Bruce Willis’ plan, wouldn’t going back in time to kill the Rainmaker to undo his wife’s death prevent him from meeting his wife to begin with, since the only reason he met his wife in the first place was because he killed his old self in the first timeline on the Rainmaker’s orders and retired to China? Wouldn’t killing the Rainmaker prevent him from retiring, thus keeping him from going to China and meeting his wife, thus defeating the very purpose of his plan?

Also, what’s the deal with the multiple timelines? Why does it apply to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, but not Paul Dano’s? And why do they make a big deal about not killing any present loopers in the first half of the movie when the “bad guys” spend the second half trying to do exactly that to Levitt’s character? Where did their initial fears of drastically changing the timeline go in the second half? Or did they just forget? And Levitt does exactly that at the end when he kills himself, and nothing all that drastic happens. His old version disappears, okay, big whoop. And near the end, how in the hell did Willis manage to kill so many people, most of whom were not only trained assassins like him, but much, much younger? Did his time in China turn him into some kind of super assassin or something? Wasn’t he supposed to have given up that life anyway, thus rendering him by that point, I don’t know, a touch rusty? **END SPOILERS** It just doesn’t make sense!

Whew. Lots and lots of holes, and those are just the ones I could immediately think of off the top of my head. Overall, the movie isn’t all bad: like I said, it has its moments. There are cool elements here and there, some clever touches, and the ending was pretty satisfying despite it not making any sense if you stop to think about it. And yes, Levitt’s face looks terrible in this, just god awful. He does look like Willis at times, sure, but he also looks like a deformed CGI sock puppet, which I don’t think is the look they were going for. Sometimes it looks okay, and other times it looks like absolute crap. And it was completely unnecessary. Just slap a little makeup on and give him some colored contact lenses next time, okay? Don’t ruin your whole movie because of it, god damn.

Anyway, choppy movie, messy, strange, uneven, haphazard, awkwardly written, poorly edited, and clumsily directed, with a few moments of inspired brilliance here and there, but not enough. Not the worst movie in the world, but it could have been better.

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