Film Micrœview #-2: Looper (2012)
12.24.2015 § 1 Comment
I wrote most of this years ago, but decided to put it in the form of one of my reviews in the wake of the release of the latest Star Wars episode, what with Johnson being the writer of both the final remaining episodes and the director of the next one.
I did not expect more than good fun when I saw Looper. My good fun was ruined by the following, often easily fixable flaws:
I’m fine with the magic time travel style where different versions of yourself are linked and affect each other. I was moved when JGL comforted the kid rather than kill him after he blew that mobster up. Where I thought it was going at this point was that rather than dispose of problems with destruction and not-forward-thinking as his character started the movie out as, that he was going to grow and realize that perhaps he could solve problems with creation and acceptance of his future. Perhaps he could take his growth into his own hands rather than displacing it racistly onto an Asian maid who cleans him up. I was thinking this was going to be a genius reference to the Terminator series where instead of killing your target in the past, which in this case is the bad guy and not the savior, you turn it around into a savior. I was thinking he would kill his old self, the epitome of his old way of thinking, and then raise this kid with the lady in FUCKING FRANCE so it would matter that he had learned French and gone his own way rather than the way of his false father figure in the mob boss. This would further lend reason to that cool-ish moment we see where BW is contorted in pain as he feels his wife’s memory getting warped into that of this new woman. This is clearly what should have happened given the setup and traditional Hollywood narrative form. That they didn’t happen seems to me so egregiously a rejection of what was setup to happen that it might have been an intentional rejection of it, the nihilism of which was not fun for me.
The premise of the film relies on it being really hard to get away with killing someone in the future, and that apparently the only way you can do it is to send a living body back in time. Ridiculous, but granted. Then why do mobsters use deadly weapons such as guns rather than exclusively the powerful tazers they are seen to also have, such that it would even be a remote possibility that they’d accidentally kill someone? The movie would have been much better if they had just tazed her and disposed of her in the same way.
Eliminate the absolutely pointless “I have a southern accent and I need approval” character. Waste of space. Excessive death devalues the deaths that matter.
It was fun while Jeff Daniel’s mob boss from the future character didn’t meet the mob boss personality stereotype. It was a shame it degenerated into such – he starts off a nice guy, not a knuckle-breaker, then he goes and breaks some knuckles – and that he had to die for no reason.
Eliminate the prostitute girlfriend character, and thereby the silliness of her being involved with one of the three potential rainmakers as kids. No point in this at all.
Show the Rainmaker doing his thing. Get me scared of him. I’m familiar with the idea that it is scarier not to show the scary thing, but really the most effectively frightening technique is to show VERY LITTLE, little flashes of things. Think of Kaiser Soze in Usual Suspects.
Spare me the insulting cliche of the two hardened hetero male and female leads giving in to their passion for each other sexually at the most dangerous moment setting the scene for the climax.
Relate TK to time travel. If it is the case that there is someone watching over this world doing what it can to reconcile wildly diverging paths so that JGL will somehow nonetheless still become this BW he is linked to, then perhaps it has something to do with TK! Wouldn’t that be great! (Never mind that we see reality happen one way, then get overwritten, but within these overwritings everything must stay totally unified – you can’t have it both ways)
Rather than glossing over it with a montage sequence, address the point at which killing becomes impossible and how that affects the character.
Have an imagination. Nothing about this vision of the future, from the floaty bikes and weird helicopters and weird guns to the eye dropping drugs or magic billboards was new or interesting.
How did everyone know about Loopers in the present if they’re such a well kept secret? What was up with that? It was established by Jeff Daniels that he ran the city with impunity, with no fear from police, so they could be open about things. Wouldn’t they then need to close loops on the entire city, rather than just the Loopers?