Monday, October 8, 2012

Looper: A good Sci-fi flick that still misses 'something'..

It’s been a while, since this summer that there was a new entry here. That mainly has to do with the usual doldrums of end-of-the-summer blockbusters, and the waiting game of those fall/ winter films that don’t come out until at least a month into fall itself. Then, of course, the anticipation of those same fall/winter films that are showcased at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), which instills the other waiting game of when those films are released… Thankfully a few of them I anticipate seeing are being released within this month or so. A few have been released already, which brings me to the film in question, “Looper”. 

Now, with the critical acclaims this movie has drummed up by the usual critics, I did find this film - at least on an entertainment basis - to be entertaining. Yet I did think it was lacking a little….something. It didn’t lack an interesting plot. Granted the concept of time travel in any film is nothing new, that way they processed the concept of a time thread or in this case a time ‘loop’ is slightly unique to the plot of the story. In fact it’s a lot more interesting than previous time travel action films (Time Cop comes to mind). I think if it wasn’t for the fact that the main character and contract ‘Looper’ assassin Joe, (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) needed to kill his future self (Bruce Willis), it would have been a rare opportunity to commune with your older self. Now honestly who wouldn’t pass up an opportunity like that? Alas, due to the plot of the film, Joe, needs to eventually kill his older self in order to “close the loop”. Yeah, it’s that twisted.

It didn’t lack action either. As you can imagine, any sci-fi/ action thriller film would have plenty of the usual elements to this genre. This does include gunplay, assassinations, a big payoff, an unexpected twist, and (more or less) a chase. The sci-fi elements don’t really disappoint either though, truth be told, the future element to this film was a bit clichéd. The story takes place in 2044. There was a previous major economic collapse which in turn caused severe derogation of society in the United States, and a sharp rise power of various organized crime syndicates. In other words, another bleak future film, much like the ones in my previous entry on the subject.

There is also the fact that for some reason (not actually explained how or why it happened) a mutation had occurred, causing 10 % of the human population to have some minor telekinetic ability to levitate small objects. And for a good while in the film, its not really explained why this element is in the plot… that is until we get to the “Rainmaker”.

The Rainmaker is apparently a future boss (2074 to be exact) of the crime syndicate that not only rose to power quickly, but completely by himself (which isn’t explained how at first, and at the cost of very many lives) that is closing all loop contracts on every Looper that exists in both the future and the current time of the film. In other words, tying all loose ends with everyone, this is where Old Joe comes in. He not only evades capture and his own assassination, but plans to kill this Rainmaker in the past in order to prevent him from rising to power. Long story short, a young boy named Cid whom Joe, finds at a farm on the outskirts of the city has extraordinary abilities in that same telekinesis, enough to do a very large amount of damage with little effort. Only problem is, his attacks are out of pure emotion, and at this point are not controllable. It’s pretty obvious to the viewer that this is the Rainmaker. What makes this part of the film so interesting, is that at one point, Joe realizes that if certain series of events happen, and his older self doesn’t exceed in killing Cid (which he doesn’t) and ends up killing his mother instead, Cid will go down a very dark path alone, scared, and seething in anger towards those that killed his mother and ruined his life, thus becoming this future Rainmaker. He then knows the only way to end this cycle, is to eliminate the one variable that will cause it…himself. I think you all know what happens next.

All in all it’s a decent film. But again it seems to be missing something. An added plot twist? Some idea on just how bad doe Cid/Rainmaker become in the future? The subtle hint of nature vs. nurture for how Cid might grow up in order to prevent him from becoming the Rainmaker? Or perhaps the slightly contrived notion of these fragmented timelines as a result of a different decision made from a previous ‘loop’? 

To be honest I’m really not sure. Every other part of this film I enjoyed, but I was anticipating something more. And t odd thing is, I don’t know exactly what that something is. Perhaps that might be one reason why this particular time travel themed film stood out for me. It seemed incomplete of an otherwise interesting film. 

Has anyone else here have that same notion to this film, or any other film? Thoughts on this?

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