Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Looper - Review

Looper is a very effective and satisfying sci-fi film from director and writer Rian (Brick) Johnson. Without spoiling the fun, Looper is a fine film with a rich story that feels like a cross between Ray Bradbury and Stephen King.

All I will say is this: if the older you met the younger you, would it be a positive encounter? would each enjoy the experience? would the younger find the encounter to be an exchange of wisdom?

Or would you discover that the older you was an incredibly selfish murdering a__hole who will stop at nothing to get what he wants?

In a NY Times magazine interview, Johnson said that he was inspired by the movie Witness which moves from the City to a Farm. Witness, a film by Australian director Peter Weir, is one of my favorite films from the 1980's.

For those who might not remember, Witness is about a Philadelphia (the City of Brotherly Love, not) cop named Book (played by Harrison Ford in one of his best roles) who is looking after an Amish mother and her son (played by little Lukas Haas who appeared in Johnson's film Brick) after the youngster witnesses a murder in the city train station.

When the kid fingers a cop for the killer, Book galvanizes into action to get the mother and son out of town. In the process, Book gets seriously wounded, but is nursed back to health on the idyllic Amish farm.

There are all sorts of resonances going on here between Witness and Looper, including strong mothers with weird little kids.

In Witness, the Farm is a refuge from the evil of the world in the City. When the killers finally come to the farm, there is a bloody climax.

Something similar happens in Looper though it's not as simple as bad cops vs virtuous cop. When the bloody climax comes, it is a whoa-inducing moment that seemed to be a clear nod to two other sci-fi oldies, Scanners from director David Cronenberg and The Fury from director Brian DePalma.

Another worthy sci-fi film that Looper reminded me of is Frequency where a freak storm creates a weather worm-hole through time allowing one person to speak via ham radio to his deceased father in the past.

Looper director Rian Johnson may be nodding to Frequency in the grisly sequence where the first runaway looper is 'interrogated.'

As a fan of sci-fi films, I was delighted when Looper shifted ever so subtly from time travel to telekinesis. In doing so, Johnson's strange future world of time traveling verged into the realm of super-powered mutants.

I wonder if that signals where he may go next...?

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Tuesday October 2, 2012

1 comment:

  1. The writing and directing are in top-notch form where everything keeps you riveted and compelled, but there was that certain element of human-drama that just seemed to be missing. I don’t know where it went or why it didn’t come to me, but it just didn’t and made me feel like I was missing out on something in the end. Nice review Terrence.