Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Looper De Loop

steven harris goes loopy over looper, yes I really went there...

Thank you, The BBC. Thank you for screening Looper and reminding me of how much awesome it contains. Somewhere in my memory of the first time I saw it lurked the possibility that big screen cinema with its popcorn-thrill, super-slurpy brandname carbonated beverage distraction, had made me think a good film was a great film. Nope. I watched it this time on my phone on that there The BBC iPlayer thing. Small screen. Small as you like. And yet still awesome. Still great. Time-travel movies are often lame. Ask Emily Blunt, she should know after having been in the disappointing The Adjustment Bureau. This should have been way better, considering it was (loosely) based on a Philip K. Dick story (frequently a guarantee of dystopian, crazy quality plot). If only the Emily Blunt in Looper could go back in time to tell the Emily Blunt in The Adjustment Bureau to not be in The Adjustment Bureau and wait for Looper to come up. It’s only a year of backward wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff, after all.

Anyroad and whathaveyou, Looper kicks The Adjustment Bureau’s butt. Big time. In your face previous Emily Blunt, says Looper’s Emily Blunt. Maybe. Time-travel movies are often lame. They also often make you go over what appears to be the same ground when in fact you’re learning different stuff about the plot, maybe even seeing an alternative timeline open up in front of your very proverbials. At first you ask yourself “What the fuck is wrong with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s face?” And then you ask yourself “What the fuck has always been wrong with Bruce Willis’s face?” And then you realise they’re the same character 30 years apart and time travel has happened and it isn’t lame but you’ve said ‘fuck’ twice.

Time-travel movies are often lamentably tedious and all about wild-ride future time. In Looper the future ain’t so different from the now. And seeing as the ‘now’ of the narrative is thirty years from our own now…er…now…and the future when Joseph becomes Bruce is thirty years ahead of that time, it’s gratifying to see that the future is really recognisable as an extension of 2012 (the film’s release date). Sure, there are some technological advances but mostly it’s as though culture itself went around and around in a loop, parodying and mimicking the world as viewers know it only with added dirt and stupid names for guns.

The crux of the story is that Bruce wants to kill children. No, he’s not a total bastard. Well he has been quite a bastard in his past – Joseph’s now and immediate future – but in Bruce’s now his wife has been killed by a nasty person, someone who is a kid in Joseph’s now, and Bruce is well pissed off about it. So pissed off that he says nothing about knowing what a TV dinner feels like. Just as well, that’s a whole other movie.

Joseph works out who the kid is, which means that Bruce also then works it out because when Joseph learns something new it instantly becomes something already known in Bruce’s brain. See how complex time-travel movies can be? Eat cornfield Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Eat it and realise that after Terminator 2: Judgement Day all Terminator films are pretty silly.

Looper doesn’t need numbers or a subheader in the title. It needs five letters, one of them repeated. Because that’s how you spell Looper. If I write Looper enough times you’ll remember how to spell it without having to think too hard, right?

Anyway. The kid only becomes bad in the future because Bruce kills his mum in the now, Joseph’s now, Bruce’s sort of past only different from how it was when he was Joseph the first time round. Bruce is too weird in the face to work this out but Joseph works it out despite face weirdness and he shoots himself to prevent Bruce ever existing in the future or that version of the now.

Loop closed. And to symbolically prove it is closed one of the last images is of Emily Blunt shutting up Joseph’s pocket watch one last time. Then another image of something to do with the kid who now won’t grow up to become a nasty person. Then white screen. Then credits. Then the stopping of the credits. Then…well anything you need or want to do because the movie has fucking finished, dude. Stop staring at the empty screen. Nothing more to see here.

Time-travel movies are occasionally awesome.

Thank you, The BBC.

steven harris is adverse to putting his name in capitals because names aren't that important. Also, lower case is sexy. steven writes all sorts of stuff including fiction, poetry, songs, opinion pieces and shopping lists. He does not write on lavatory doors any more. his blog has writing in it and can be located at He lives in Devon with an imaginary cat called Kafka.

Follow him on Twitter as @theplanetharris

images from IMDB

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