I saw the trailer for this movie and thought it looked ok. I mean, Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the former willing to star in any number of quirky Sci-Fi movies (Fifth Element, Surrogates, 12 Monkeys) and the latter just being in great movies (Inception, 500 Days of Summer, The Dark Knight Rises) are both in it, so that’s a good start. Also, unbelievably, I quite like Sci-Fi.
The trailer does a great job of spoon feeding you the plot in a way only Hollywood can. Having seen that trailer, you can probably predict exactly what is going to happen. There will be a chase in a suitably futuristic vehicle, some pivotal futuristic technology for which there is no or little explanation yada yada… Look, watch enough of these movies and they all start to look the same. At least this one hasn’t liberally fashioned itself after a Philip K Dick story…
And yet, Looper is surprisingly great. Huh.
What makes this movie different is that while the trailer does tell you what’s going on, it really and actually doesn’t at all. The story here is not what you think and that is awesome.
Trailers commit some pretty heinous cinematic crimes. Like The Village, which made out it was a horror story (it isn’t, it’s a period drama WITH A TWIST!) or X-Men: First Class (which blew one of the biggest moments in the movie, thanks movie trailer!). The trailer for Looper actually told all you need to know without actually telling you anything. Good job!
So I sat down to watch it, expecting Minority Report Version 4.0. Instead, I got an indie film that lavished some care attention on things like character and motivation. Huh.
Point of fact, there was a moment when Joseph Gordon-Levitt is sat talking to another character and I realised he was doing a great imitation of Bruce Willis’ mannerisms. You know, the thin-lipped smile hiding his real emotions… You know what I mean.
So the plot isn’t the A to B Sci-Fi chase movie you think it is. It has some great moments, good acting and amazing pacing. Why isn’t everyone raving about it?
Well the Science Fiction is somewhat wonky. It works if you squint (and they at least try to give an explanation, even if it is somewhat hand wavy).
And ultimately, no matter how well you make a movie about gangsters co-opting time travel to send victims into the past to be killed so there’s no crime, it’s still a movie about gangsters co-opting time travel, i.e. it’s a bit silly. Average Joe and Jane Movie Goer will never rave about a film that is A Bit Silly.
I was surprised by a lot of things in this film and came away really enjoying it. If you don’t mind vaguely bullshit science fiction, you’ll probably get something out of this.
In fact, go watch the trailer: it will tell you nothing about the actual plot of this film.
TL:DR “Sci-Fi film surprises all by not being as brainless as the trailer makes out. Definitely one to watch.”