October 9th, 2012
Review by Gavin O'Reilly
I was lucky with Looper, lucky in that all I had seen before viewing the full feature was a teaser trailer, so minimal spoilers. Sweet, I like to have as little spoiled as possible and as little exposure to a film as possible. It is a pity that with some films, like the forthcoming Bond epic Skyfall, you just can’t avoid the media saturation. The mental hype-machine seems to reach its top heights when associated with a franchise; luckily Looper is not attached to anything like this. Because of another bonus to it: it is an original sci-fi film. Something seemingly unique in today’s cinema. Correct- not a sequel, prequel, based on a toy or comic book flippin’ franchise. Just an original time travel sci-fi yarn that is both innovative and fresh.
Looper is set in the not too distant future, it looks fairly recognizable with some new twists - 30 years from then time travel has been invented and outlawed due its extremely dangerous nature. So there are of course criminals using time travel as their major racket. Needless to say, things start to go pear shaped when our first main protagonist, Joe, meets his future self who he needs to kill in order to finish his contract (‘close his loop’) and keep the confidentiality of the criminal shenanigans. However, (old) future Joe has had some time to reflect on this contract and plans things a little differently. This leads both Joe’s to some frightening discoveries as they, and the viewers, come to realize what a head-fry time travel can be. Don’t people ever learn? Haven’t you seen Primer??
To say any more on the plot will give too much away and that would be a shame for such a tight story and script. I just want you to enjoy the film with as little info beforehand as I had - it really is a treat! But there is a lot more to the story and to the richly detailed and well thought-out world that the film inhabits. There is a lot of intricacy and fairly smooth story-telling without too much exposition or beating you over the head with facts throughout. A neat trick for a writer when they are dealing with time travel.
Really, there isn’t a lot bad I can say about this film - great casting, acting, appropriate effects (this is not a special effects driven film), and a tight story. The major win for me is that I found myself torn and rooting for four separate characters - all at loggerheads with each other at one point or another throughout the film. It also brought on a full discussion with my viewing group straight after, dissecting the film and aspects of time travel- always a good sign when a film sparks healthy debate. But all in the positive. Go see this if you believe in and support original sci-fi in film - this a poster child for it.