Tuesday, October 02, 2012

He's a Looper! And he doesn't want to watch his bod grow old


“He’s a Looker!" (Remember that 1981 cynical sci-fi movie about digital lookism?)  Now, it’s “He’s a Looper”.  And those double “o’s” are pronounced as “eu”, not as a long “O” in Dutch.   (There’s also “Watchers”.)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who transfigured himself on SNL as a “Magic Mike”, is heavily modeled, his face made fatter, as a 30-something low-level hired hit man (Joe) who is about to encounter what his future self will look like, in 30 more years.  That doppelganger is played by Bruce Willis.  In the future, we all know, organized crime controls time travel the way it controls cocaine (because both are illegal) – apparently the Libertarian Party doesn’t have enough sway in the future (or there aren’t enough Ron Paul imitations to become president) .  Old Joe comes back to get rid of Young Joe and cover up a huge killing spree by “the Rainmaker”.  (Remember, the latter name is a 1997 first-person novel by John Grisham, made into a popular film with Matt Damon, about conniving health insurance companies.)

The logic of closing the “Loop” is simple.  If young Joe dies, then old Joe dematerializes, because he cannot exist in space-time, at least according to Stephen Hawking.

The film is set in Kansas, and a future nightmare version of KCMO Is shown (It reminds one of “Blade Runner”, put perhaps it will impress KU students.)  It was actually filmed in the delta country of Louisiana, south of the Big Easy.  There are interesting future jaunts in China.

Much of the film’s denouement centers young Joe’s finding a woman who may be the mother of the future “Rainmaker”.  In 2042, some people have telekinetic ability, and can cause local tornadoes, derechoes, or haboobs.

The film has a sequence where Joe is shown aging a few years apart on each shot, until he morphs into Bruce Willis.  A naked time lapse could be interesting.  In many cases, men tend to add chest hair as they age, but lose it on both the head and legs.  No one wants to think about growing old.

Director Rian Johnson explains some of the mysteries in the plot here.

Paul Dano plays a minor role as the haggard “Seth”, but he recalls his role in “There Will Be Blood”. 

It’s interesting to compare this film with a gay sci-fi film in 2011, “Judas Kiss” (June 4, 2011), where a college-age filmmaker meets his future self.  One could imagine Richard Harmon as having played younger Joe in “Looper”, and Timo Descamps as “Seth”.

The official site for "Looper" is here.

I didn’t notice any festival circuit awards on this one.  But it is distributed by Sony’s Tristar and FilmDistrict, typically associated with larger independent action films.   How does Sony decide when to use its Columbia, TriStar, and Screen Gems brands?

1 comment:

Dan O. said...

Great review Bill. Didn’t have me as emotionally-invested as I thought I could have been, but still, a pretty solid sci-fi flick that’s heavy on story and characters, which is all that mattered to me.