According to the time travelling theory of Doc Brown in Back To The Future; disastrous consequences will occur if your past self and your future self ever come into contact with each other. This theory is put to good use in Rian Johnson’s new film Looper. Set in the years 2044 and 2074 where time travel is possible but prohibited. A Kansas City Mob uses a time travelling device to transport victims to the present day 2044 at a certain time where Loopers are waiting to execute them. The Loopers are paid with silver bars strapped to the bound up body of their victims. Therefore, aptly the Looper’s job description is taking out the future’s garbage, but when the future’s garbage is yourself is when things get a bit awry.
We focus on one particular Looper named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who views his job like a 9-5 grind and therefore lives for the weekend. Like the other Loopers he has the best ride, wears the best attire and regards himself as cool. The process and routine of Joe’s job [Joseph Gordon-Levitt] is not as glamorous or dangerously chic as it would have you believe however. In truth it is pretty much repetitive, tedious and that is given atonement by the Loopers partying hard, sleeping with prostitutes and taking drugs. So he practices French lessons and saves up money so he can look forward to the day when he can leave the business and settle in France.
There is though a lurking threat that hangs over all Loopers. Closing your loop which means eliminating your middle-aged self because they know too much about the organisation could happen to any one of them. Most accept the fact that this may happen to them one day, while others secretly dread the prospect of such a possibility. When Joe is unexpectedly faced with his future self (Bruce Willis) from the year 2074 he is ready to blast him away, however future Joe is not so ready to die. Letting your loop escape is deemed as a major fuck up, therefore he has to kill him or be killed.Even amidst all the action and special effects it is the conflict between the young Joe and the old Joe that shows the most purpose. Though they are indeed one and the same person they are in fact at different stages of their lives. They both have different aims and goals. The tragedy of a stolen stability forms the older Joe’s character whereas the younger Joe is immature and concerned more about saving his life. An interesting scene in the café between the two is perhaps a wish fulfilled fantasy for all of our older selves, as older Joe tries to steer the younger one in the right direction, although ultimately failing.
The two leads play their roles well respectively. Gordon-Levitt makes the transitions from cocky young fool, to pitiful and then redemptive real well, whilst Willis has never been this badass for a long time. The action is nuanced and spaced out, while the special effects are not overdone, while its narrative force fascinates. The most important aspect of the film is the dilemma which manifests itself at the heart of the movie; a mother who would die for her son and a man that would do anything for his wife. This truly is a one off type of science fiction brilliantly conceived by Rian Johnson and performed admirably by all involved.
OTHER TIME TRAVEL FILMS WORTH WATCHING:
- Back to the Future: the go to for time travel movies with the adorable (Michael J Fox )Marty McFly featuring all the things that make it a classic: aDelorean, Doc Brown, Florence Nightingale effect, skateboarding, giving chuck berry his new sound and your mum having the hots for you.
- Donnie Darko: a cult classic based onthe fictional book The philosophy of time travel, with worm holes, eighties nostalgia, eighties new romanticism music and a theory on the Smurfs. a brilliant debut from director richard Kelly who has failed to produce anything as good since
- Groundhog Day: Bill Murray is at his deadpan best reliving the same day for god knows how long at first taking advantage of it then, going insane for his love for Andy McDowell. just beware of the nightmare that is Ned Ryerson
- Twelve Monkeys: Bruce in another time travelling escapade. this time he has to stop a virus whilst being haunted by a dream and being trapped in a mental institution with brad pitt.
- The Terminator: a terminator [advanced cyborg] is sent from the future to the past to assassinate Sarah Connors who will give birth to john Connor in the future the rebel leader against the terminators. Arnies best role by far.
- Time Bandits: midgets, and Sean Connery as King Armageddon, John Cleese as Robin Hood, and Ian Holm as Napoleon what do you expect from Terry Gilliam?