Looper TIFF 2012 Review

Posted 10 years ago by myetvmedia

Looper:Director Rian Johnson’s Sci-Fi Superbly Opens TIFF

Looper, starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Emily Blunt, is certainly an enthralling science fiction film from Director/Writer Rian Johnson who has ingeniously given the genre a mutli-dimensional twist. The year 2044 looks very familiar however we immediately understand that the gulf between haves and have-nots has widened to apocalyptic levels – panhandlers, street criminals abound in bombed out neighbourhoods and there is mixed bag of technology — everything from futuristic flying BMW motorcycles to recycled SUV’s and school buses from our time; fear and darkness rule. The culprits are mob bosses who control everything, including outlawed time machines. Loopers are mob contract hit men who off their victims from the future at the moment they arrive in 2044 via the mob controlled time machines. No body, no evidence, no convictions. Clean, so it seems – Time Cop meets Terminator.

But this is a tale with Faustian ambition. Our Looper and protagonist Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is accumulating a stash of silver for that ‘rainy day’ when his loop is closed. A Looper’s pact involves killing his older self (transported back from 30 years hence) the day he retires as a Looper. With his silver blood money in tow for the next 30 years, Joe, as we see in a series of flash forward scenes, spends it on hookers and heroin until the silver runs out. And when the older Joe (Bruce Willis) is transported back to 2044 after his 30 years of Faustian payoff, Joe the younger is thwarted in his execution of Joe from circa 2074. As is the case with most time travelling narratives, any change in the present (i.e. the failure to execute Joe c2074) will change the future for the mob and  obliterate it for Joe from 2044. All hell then breaks loose and the pace and depth of this superb genre twisting film explodes to new levels.

Complicating matters, Johnson’s narrative is as religiously messianic as it is science fictional. While the two Joe’s are locked in an existential and mortal struggle with how their single life will be lived and defined, the mob led by Abe (Jeff Daniels) is now after both of them to fulfill the closing of their loop, Enter Sara (Emily Blunt), mother protector of Cid (Pierce Gagnon) a child with extraordinary abilities, who it turns out, could be the devil incarnate or a messiah to finally purge the world of Loopers and mob supremacy when he grows up. It is here whereJohnson’s script stokes the intellectual fires with questions of how love and security can sustain (or lack of it, stunt) our identity as human beings. Is redemption in a loveless world even possible? Johnson’s Looper really does defy genre definition but it does borrow from a wealth of films and cultural icons to great effect. We see bits and pieces of Terminator and I couldn’t help thinking that Looper’s Sara is a tip of the hat to James Cameron’s mother protector heroine Sarah ConnorBlade Runner, particularly the identity crisis of its mutant population with a finite, predetermined lifespan. From Christianity, an iconic Judas, the quintessential figure of personal betrayal and his blood stained silver have been invoked from the New Testament.Johnson has several frames invoking Mary the mother of Jesus, including a popular piece of bedside iconography with Mary holding the swaddling Jesus in her arms.


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Looper TIFF 2012 Review

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