Kansas 2044


27 September 2012| No Comments on Looper     by Sean Chavel


Time travel paradoxes stylishly done but not completely bow-tied storywise. Looper has Joseph Gordon-Levitt as young Joe and Bruce Willis as old Joe from the future, but neither is reliable to the other. Joe has always been a lower-rung criminal hitman, and in Kansas 2044, the mob sends targets back in time so they can be shot and disposed of by loopers, i.e., Joe. If time travel was possible – in my dreams – I wouldn’t see how hurting young Joe would mean entirely eliminating old Joe. But wizened Joe’s health depends on his incarnation. I can’t help but admit that the shot selection and camera work impressed me more than anything else. There are a couple of powerful sequences here, including a flash-forward montage of Willis living out 30 years into the further future.

In 2044, time travel has yet to be invented. But thirty years later, it has. That’s the crucial part of the exposition. What’s unavoidably critical about the film as a whole is that both Joe’s have an entirely different mindset with self-serving missions. Younger Joe would like to eliminate his older self, and while at it, carve out another path. This is also the command of crime boss Abe (Jeff Daniels, wry but menacing). It’s called “closing the loop.”

The story leads from big city and high tech – including a new drug line administered by eye drops, hoverbikes, new bricks for money – to a sedentary farm occupied by Sara (Emily Blunt) and her telekinetic-gifted son. There is also talk of the fearsome “Rainmaker” of the future, a mob boss with unknown whereabouts, whacking away at loopers and informants. That leaves Bruce Willis the opportunity to play badass action hero, except this: Can he kill a child? You can, if the kid target is your idea of the antichrist.

Gutsy plotting, sensational visuals with sly effects and some ideological content concerning how to relate to your own self occupy this nifty time travel flick. Not super-fun, but nifty and stimulating. You might find yourself, as did I, chalking up one or two questions. I asked myself a dozen, but only the minute after I walked out of the theater.

The 2074 Shanghai scenes are haunting and amazing. The fatalism has a potency seemingly influenced by “La Jetée” and “12 Monkeys.” Some of the movie is too dispassionate, but it builds to a supple poignancy. It still has me concerned enough thinking about it days later.

118 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “La Jetée” (1962, France); “12 Monkeys” (1995); “Primer” (2004); “Surrogates” (2009).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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