I like a few genres in film. Noir, thrillers, sci-fi and comedy. Rian Johnson’s Looper is basically the first three but mostly the middle two, so it was definitely on my to watch list when it came out. Starring Bruce Willis as the future version of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the basic premise revolves around these hired killers called loopers who kill people sent back in time. Throw in 10% of the population having telekinetic powers in 2044 plus floating crop harvest robots and eyedrop drugs and it feels like a compelling futuristic dystopia.

If only the massive loopholes didn’t destroy what could have been. The problem with Looper is that Rian Johnson was mostly fixated on trying to show what could happen if your future self meets up with your younger self and the two don’t see eye to eye. Because of this conundrum he wanted to create, he had to also create some future technologies to make it all plausible. But he doesn’t really do that very well. The whole telekinetic thing really feels like it was dropped in to explain this or that or maybe make it so this would be cool. Also, time travel is really really tough to play with without creating all kinds of logic errors.

Johnson’s approach was most aptly described by a scene in a diner when JGL and Willis meet properly for the first time and sit down over steak and eggs. Willis’ character blurts this out as the catchall explainaway telling the viewers to disregard the loopholes and focus on the plot/characters, “I don’t want to talk about time travel because if we start talking about it then we’re going to be here all day talking about it, making diagrams with straws.”. Pity that the plot and the complications in the characters’ situations all depend on the science having some plausibility.

The film itself was somewhat enjoyable and if you’re capable of disbelief suspension for 2hrs, then you’d like the action and retro americana steampunk styling. You’d probably laugh at the scene when Emily Blunt gets horny and presses on a frog, which has JGL running to find her in her lingerie. I just can’t believe in a world if it’s made in such a hurried, kinda patchwork method where if there’s one logic problem, we’ll just magic it away with “sci-fi” but create two more problems that we’ll just ignore. In many ways, it just seems a bit lazy.

Johnsons’ previous major work, Brick, was actually much better because it didn’t involve any need for quantum physics. I remember JGL’s character from that film talking way too much and being more than a little unconvincing at the time but fast forward 8 years and he’s become a brilliant Bruce Willis mimic.

I think 30% of me wanted to really like Looper but the other 70% was just like, um… this doesn’t make sense!!! So I couldn’t fully enjoy it, which is a pity because I think it would have been like Inception level if the major plotholes were filled with substance, not just bandaids.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Bruce Willis

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