In theatres now — Rated R
Of all the sci-fi concepts that have come into existence, the one concept that has been explored the most is time travel. Not only can it stimulate the thrill of exploration, but it is also a way to pose numerous philosophical quandaries. In the case of this week’s subject for review, we explore a reversal/variant of the Grandfather Paradox.
“Looper” is set in the not too distant future where technology has progressed, but society as a whole has degraded to a point where criminals are in the position of power. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a Looper: a hitman who kills targets sent to him from the future in exchange for blocks of silver. One day, his target turns out to be his future self, played by Bruce Willis, who escapes and sets into motion a tale of desperation, vengeance, and survival.
This film has one of the most dense stories I have seen this year. We get flavorings of speculative science fiction mixed with a neo-noir crime drama. Given the director’s previous work, that’s not surprising.
Not only does “Looper” explore the concept and consequences of time travel, but it does so in a way that doesn’t make it feel like a science lecture. As you watch the film, more and more layers are revealed until you reach an ending that is logical while still very surprising. This is a very cerebral story, so don’t expect your run-of-the-mill action flick.
Both the dialogue and the pacing are very fascinating.
Rather than try to tell a straight-forward, good-versus-evil sci-fi story, it approaches the event in the same manner as other intelligent sci-fi thrillers like “Blade Runner.” The characters’ motivations aren’t in black and white.
The science behind the events is explained in a very casual manner, like you’re being briefed on it by a mobster instead of a scientist. When the characters themselves talk about time travel, it’s done so in a way that most people would think about it, as something terrifying and confusing to most normal people.
When it comes to the cinematography, there are a few moments where the shots are very interesting and weird, but it feels as if that wasn’t the main focus of the film. Some creative shots are scattered throughout, but we also see a lot of shots that are fairly standard.
The visual aesthetic of the film has a very earthy and subdued tone to it. There’s not a lot of color involved, even when we see some of the colorful aspects of the nightlife. Everything looks dirty and dingy, creating a very gritty look befitting of a neo-noir film. I really like it when a film is able to match the visual tone to the story to such a degree.
Overall, while my brain was a little overloaded when watching the film, I still found “Looper” to be a thought provoking drama that introduces some really unique concepts when it comes to time travel. While most of the technical aspects could be considered standard, the story is really what you watch the film for.