Review Roundup - It's about time...

LOOPER (2012)

Rian Johnson's ultra stylish time travel thriller almost lives up to the positive buzz, thanks to some great performances all round and some nifty near-but-not-quite here yet future ideas that nicely realise the world without going overboard on visual effects.

Having such a good human element to all this is what makes the movie come together, and the two leads are really strong. Though it has to be said that the effects to make it seem like Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are the same person at different ages can be quite distracting at times. It was a good idea in concept, but the proportions between someone's nose and lips are little things you can't disguise with make-up and as a result it never really works.

In terms of the near future setting it's a recognisable cityscape despite the weird eye dropper drugs and super slick hover bikes we should really have by now in real life. The world also includes people who have began to develop telekinetic powers from tiny mutations or evolutionary changes, and it just ends up disappointing everyone. It's a mundane and believably disappointing detail. These are small things that all add to the world building and make it such a neat set-up.

The plot itself involves hitmen in this near future present day being hired to do away with people from the future. Their victims are sent back in time thirty years by an evil organisation to cover up the crime since time travel is as illegal as murder. It's a nice idea if it does become a little convoluted, although the narrative does a fair job of reasoning it all out. The central idea about becoming rich and then closing your own 'loop' by killing your own older self to get rid of the lose ends is less satisfying.

Just as a thriller it's 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 definitely the montage where the main character passes from the near future present into the future where he ages into Bruce Willis. Of course since he works for an organised crime group things soon go wrong for him (and other characters) which allows for some good chases and a few violent moments.

It's not perfect and the middle section drags a little once new plot developments come into play, which I won't spoil here. Despite a fresh feeling to the film, there are a few silly movie clich├ęs dropped in here and there (particularly the unearned romantic sub plot) and if you're thinking this will all work out neatly Doc Brown style 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, overall the film is pretty solid as a low budget sci-fi thriller with enough emotive drama and some nice action sequences to help things along.