Review Roundup - It's about time...

LOOPER (2012)

Original write up February '13

Rian's Johnson's ultra stylish time travel thriller almost lives up to the buzz, thanks to great performances all round (even from the dreaded child actor) and some cool near-but-not-quite future ideas that nicely realise the world without going overboard on effects. It's a recognisable cityscape, despite the eye dropper drugs and hover bikes. I liked how people have began to develop telekinetic powers from small mutations or evolutionary changes, and it just ends up disappointing everyone... these are small things that make it such a neat set-up.

But like I said adding such a good human element to all this is what makes the movie, and the two leads are really strong even if the effects to make it seem like they are the same person at different ages are quite distracting at times. It was a good idea, but little things you can't disguise with make-up like the proportions between someone's nose and lips throw it off the whole time.

So hitmen are hired in the near future to take out victims sent back in time from 30 years ahead of this, intrigue or unnecessary? I like the idea, and the narrative does a fair job of the reasoning for this. The idea about closing "loops" and killing your own aged self, less so. The film as a whole is a fun thrill ride, particularly the opening half which is incredibly slick and includes a great mixture of visual and musical elements - the standout scene is the main character's transition through the present into the future in a montage. Of course since he works for an organised crime group things soon go wrong for him and other characters, and this allows for some good chases and violent moments.

It's not perfect though, and the middle section drags a little once new plot developments come into play, without going into spoilers here. Despite a fresh feeling to the film, there are a few silly movie clich├ęs dropped here and there (people randomly sleeping together because of expected gender interaction is one of my most eye-rolling tropes) and if you're thinking of it all as a Doc Brown diagram based version of time travel with timelines and diagrams, forget it now. If there was ever a crystalline idea for their version of cause and effect or fate versus change, it's been muddied or under explained. Still the overall film is a solid one and I am a big fan of these kinds of low budget sci-fi thrillers. The emotive drama being punctuated with some nice action sequences helps.