By Mizz_Coconut 1 Comments
Looper, the new movie with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis has aired and what do we think?
Well the movie is pretty head on, there are little to no surprises as everything is explained right away, to allow you to catch up, as the wonderment of being in the year 2044 is already enough to deal with.
Gordon Levitt plays Joe who is a Looper; trained assassins whose job it is to kill people whom are transported back from the future; from the future not to the future.
We meet Joe, who explains all of this to us, as he quite violently shoots someone on their knees with a mighty blunderbuss. Their body goes flying; Joe collects his bars of silver and takes care of the body.
Firstly Joe. Joseph Gordon Levitt has had his face re-shaped to look more like Bruce Willis. This was done by squaring off his nose and eyes, as well as making his eyes somewhat bigger to Levitts’ normal face shape. This bodes well for Levitt. Possibly not for the screaming fans, but it would be hard to believe, even with Josephs acting, that he would use a blunderbuss and kill a man in somewhat cold blood; let’s face it, he’s just too lovely! The re-shape does give him a harder edge; he seems a bit more James Dean, with his hard features and leather jacket.
However he’s not all bad, as he is learning French, why is not told. Is it for the beauty of the language, for the beauty of the city, for romance? It is not mentioned, the only thing we can assume is that he has a soft spot for a waitress Beatrix, whom is French.
This may seem trivial to point out, but Beatrix is also the only ‘black’ character in the movie. There are few people of colour in this movie, which somewhat emphasis a white richness and power. All the people from the future, the assassins, the whores, the fat cats, all white. This probably isn’t a comment on white supremacy in America. It also probably isn’t a comment on white indulgence for power and living a wasteful angry life, but it is interesting that no people of colour had a major role, and arguably the only person who did had a ‘stereotypical’ role.
However our story continues and when Joe disposes of the body he cashes in his silver chips and gets a doughnut of money. It is interesting to comment that the currency he receives is Chinese Yen when he is in Kansas, America.
We then have a follow up, I think we all expected. With this job, the Loopers also have money, cars, girls, drugs, while the rest of society is savagely beating itself on the filthy dangerous streets, as the rich ride around and knock those over in their way.
This is not a future where we all have flying cars, and jumpsuits that keep us warm. This is a society of starving children, graffiti haunts all the buildings and the streets are littered with dirty flesh. It seems the de-sensitising of oneself can make for a good life.
The Loopers feel nothing. They get their kill, get paid and then get their low kicks; walking around like zombies till tomorrow comes. The whole world is animalistic, selfish and extremely fast paced.
Once the ground rules of a Looper are identified the movie then rushes through the day to day of Joes wasted life; the same routine of fruitlessness. Of course there are no female Loopers, they are the whores and it’s really a look at what would happen if male barbarism was allowed to run wild. We may as well be watching a documentary about animals in the jungle.
It could be that a female does not have the stomach to be heartless and violent, like a Looper. It also comes in to question that Loopers are picked up as young felons, are there no young female felons? Is prostitution less of a crime then holding up a convenience store? It seems a ‘female’ attribute to harm oneself, than those around you. If a female gets angry she goes in to herself, if a male gets angry they tend to lash out.
Joe seems to carry on his life this way. The huge vast city with its sky scrapers piercing the clouds has nothing to offer. No films, no art, no museums. He has his French but he’s a boy. He even dresses like a boy. His hair is slicked back and his combination white shirt, black skinny tie and leather jacket makes him the epitome of a ‘cool guy’.
The mind doesn’t seem to be something that is developed in this movie. Even the idea of killing someone from the future, who may not even been born yet, is a mental concept, but they get on with it.
Something interesting is pointed out by our very own honest Abe however [Jeff Daniels]. Abe made Joe. Abe saw the destruction and hopelessness in Joe and ‘put a gun in his hand’. This is an odd statement to make, but the fact that it was Abe that put the gun in Joes’ hand, means he gave Joe a meaning, a direction, a legit way in this present of 2044 to make money, rather than holding up convenience stores and being imprisoned.
This is important because Abe is from the future, and sent back to the past to bring in the Loopers. This is why he dresses so strangely, with shiny satin materials, with a Chinese twist.
The starting really is boys will be boys. There’s even telekinesis; you know moving stuff your mind. However it wasn’t developed properly and the most anyone can move is a quarter in circles. This is even made fun of in a very average advert, with an average guy moving a coin and a very average girl getting excited.
The movie is heightened immediately when one of Joes’ friends come in need of him in the middle of the night. It seems that a loop can be closed by a Looper. However this entails killing yourself.
The Loopers are aware of this because a number of their friends have done this recently. They get a major pay off of solid gold bars and live the rest of their life in excess. However no one seems to think it strange that one by one all the Loopers are killing their older selves off and getting their payment. It’s their life and no one will tell them what to do.
However when Seth comes to Joe, it’s clear something very bad is happening, and that something is Seth has let himself get away. Joe now has to choose between his huge stash of silver bars, letting him to go to France, or his friend, which do you think he chooses?
Of course he chooses the money! This brings in the question of honour amongst thieves; as well as friendship. These guys didn’t go to school together and grow up with lots of memories, they’re in the lonely job together and all they want is their money for their kicks. However it’s still very simplistic, they have no qualms about killing anyone, no ghosts haunting them at night. Even when they drop drugs though their eyes, making for a faster way to get high, do they have a bad trip and get haunted by their deeds. This could be because they don’t see the persons face their killing, or know them. But it could also be because these are the actions that we assume they would be doing anyway, but they would end up in jail because of it.
However when Joe is faced by the same problem the movie gets interesting. We see Joe comes face to face with himself [Willis] but this is not as it seems. First the delivery is a minute late and nothing is ever late. Secondly old Joe does not have a bag over his head and once you’ve looked directly in to the eyes of someone you’re going to kill, whether it’s you or not, makes the act that much harder.
The pace seems to even out, as the rest of the movie continues and we have an adequate amount of time during each scene which continues to be action packed. Older Joe runs off in search of something and young Joe goes to his apartment to see what’s become of his life.
However we have an interesting flash forward/flash back if there’s such a thing. We see the story of Joe, he finds and kills older Joe, gets his gold and travels off to Shanghai, not France. He lives another fruitless life there. It seems he goes to Shanghai by a recommendation from Abe; however he does not find the romance he might have found in stereotypical France. Instead we have cold streets and more girls, guns and drugs. It seems all cities are the same. Joe has a nice apartment with a view, however the apartment is cold and empty, no carpet to warm ones feet, no furniture to flesh it out. This is important as the only piece of ‘home comfort’ we find from Joe is in his Kansas apartment in the form of a rug; its important because it’s the only comfort in his home and it conveniently hides his mass stash of silver bars, and for a small time his friend.
We continue Joes’ life and it seems he runs out of money and becomes exactly what Abe saw him as; a drug addict loser holding up convenience stores.
Until he finds love. Yes the only other ‘coloured’ person in this movie takes the form of Summer Qing, Joes’ wife [note: different to other Summer, you know the one I mean]. She’s beautifully dressed in green and surprisingly puts her middle finger up at him when he follows her. This is funny because the stereotype of Chinese females is sweet and demur, obviously she comes across like that, but the middle finger her gives her the amount of edge that makes a wild westerner fall for her. They have a blissful marriage, full of green gardens and a beautiful lush red bed where they both cuddle up. Their life is filled with an array of colour, whereas before it was dull. There are some sexy sleazy reds that seep in when we travel with young Joe, but the beautiful green, Summer wears, indicating nature, shows she isn’t some sleazy whore; who wears too much makeup.
However we see Joe is grabbed, and taken back to the past. But not before he beats his three abductors senseless and realises what he has to do. The whole time we were watching the life of old Joe and this may happen to young Joe.
We come full circle to young Joe being run out his apartment and old Joe saving his ass.
Young Joe then uses an interesting way to communicate with his older self by mutilating his body. Young Joe carves ‘Beatrix’ into his skin, which appears as a scare on old Joes’ arm. However it isn’t just a place to meet. Beatrix as has been pointed out earlier, is the one of the only coloured females in the movie, and holds a place in Joes’ heart closer than we think, because she could be the reason why Joe is learning French. She is also the first person Joe sees and speaks too after killing someone, making her a great source to calm him down and a reassure the friendliness of the world; even if she doesn’t know it.
We find ourselves back at the cane fields. The fields are dead, but they provide a good place for one to hide. The fact this is the most natural place we see, and it is dead, is significant in the natural vs. the city in this movie. It’s also interesting that Joe chooses this as a place to kill people. Possibly because of the cover he gets from the cane and the grimness is signifiers. As the canes dead limbs, yellow and disfigured, moving slightly in the breeze, is a metaphor for the older people he is killing.
When Joe and Joe talk we see selfishness in both of them; both want their lives back. Young Joe is right when he says that old Joe has lived his life and its young Joes’ turn now. But just the fact that both are there is interesting.
It seems that if you are a Looper you are immortal, especially if you close the loop, meaning you kill your older self. A Looper could somewhat live hundreds of different lives if they’re always going to be sent back to themselves and die, they’re immortal.
This doesn’t seem to click with either Joe, and we see both are in a struggle to fight for their lives. Young Joe wants his fruitless life back and older Joe wants to make sure he doesn’t live a fruitless life, save his wife and takes it upon himself to find a person called the Rainmaker and kill them.
The Rainmaker, apt name, is the super boss in the future that creates time travel and has a hold as a dictator. Old Joe wishes for him to be dead, but it seems when you count back the years, the Rainmaker is only a child; about 8-10 years old. This brings in the question of whether old Joe is prepared to kill and innocent child. Young Joe however just wants his selfish life back and attempts to kill Joe.
After being on the run, we see young Joe is forced to take shelter in Saras’ [Emily Blunt] farm.
This is where the movie takes a turn to the human. Before this point we liked Joe, but he was a child and sometimes we didn’t feel so bad for him because he was a self-indulgent boy. But now, as he goes cold turkey we see humanity in him that we didn’t have before
From this point on the killing spree for young Joe goes right down. He is on the defence but he doesn’t actually kill anyone for the rest of the film. He is finding a different life and this includes Sara.
It’s a touching scene, as young Joe seems to fall for Sara a little, the woman who ‘saved’ and/or helped him, old Joe is somewhat losing his memory of his wife Summer, the woman who saved him.
It seems that young Joes’ memories have an impact on old Joe, so he struggles to remember is wife Summer at points, as young Joe life is changing due to him not collecting his bars and going to Shanghai.
The pace slows right down, as Joe takes his time at the farm, getting to know Sara and her boy Cid. It has a more Hollywood vibe to it now, reinforcing family values and how you have to fight and endure when it comes to family, but it all turns out for the best.
Joe sees a lot of himself in Cid. A child with a mother living a sort of desperate life as they are survives together. However Cid isn’t all he appears and it seems that the movie takes a very very dark role.
Yes Looper has not exempted itself from crazed children that need a good slap! However slapping is different to killing, as we see old Joe on a mission to kill the yet-to-be rainmaker, a 10 year old child.
We see old Joe stalking and killing children, throwing up after the event, as this is one thing that never bodes well for anyone, but it needs to be done to save his wife.
It seems young Joe figures out whom Cid is going to grow up to be, but will that happen if he has anything to do with it?
We have another epic fight scene, were Willis displays that he still has it, as he mercilessly kills 20+ guardsmen in one go. He does this much to the disgust of Kid Blue, who sees his lost father figure, Abe, gunned down.
It’s the ultimate shoot off and really what we’ve been looking for in the movie, whose going to die?
We’re back at the cane fields and it seems the cane is being littered with lives and metal, much like all nature. Young Joe still wishes to stop old Joe, but not to get his life back, to let Sara and Cid live a life which will stop Cid becoming the vengeful Rainmaker.
Cid uses his telekinesis which has been enhanced through birth, as Sara was very good at telekinesis. This causes zero gravity and no matter how much harm Sara goes through, she’s a strong mother and takes care of her child because she knows what he will turn in to.
We see a lovely moment when young Joe looks forward in time, finally growing up and seeing that self-sacrifice is the only way to save everyone around him.
It really is self-sacrifice. Sara gets to raise Cid well; old Joe has had his life and should appreciate it. But young Joe will not be able to become old Joe. Instead he turns his gun on himself and accepts his life for what it.
He knows in the only self-less act he’s done in his life, will result in a good future.
Looper is probably a 7.6/10.
It’s a must see for its ideas and presentation. The acting is brilliant and despite the awkwardness in pace, it’s a good one!