Looper (USA, 2012)

Directed by: Rian Johnson. This seemed like one of those major Hollywood blockbusters that also attempted to emulate some kind of brainy, stylized, cult status. Perhaps it’s unfair to compare movies to other movies, but any time that you try to combine gritty noir with sci-fi, or present a sleek future that looks distinctly dirty and unattractive, you’re firmly in Blade Runner territory, and this is as true of A.I. or Renaissance as it is of Looper. But I don’t mean to imply that this makes the movie somehow counterfeit or mediocre, simply because it’s operating in a cultural landscape defined by a landscape-defining film that came before it. This is what culture is. And with this film, Rian Johnson does a better job than most in laying out an intriguing narrative while simultaneously offering prodigious amounts of visual eye candy, heart-beating action and suspense, and well-crafted character development. This film definitely leaves you wanting more, as the central mystery behind “The Rainmaker” doesn’t really get fully developed, only alluded to—but it makes for a pretty compelling MacGuffin. So, for an attempt at a Hollywood blockbuster trying to be smarter than a Hollywood blockbuster, I’d say Looper is a fairly reasonable attempt. I had a great time at the movies, I got to see some great performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, and Bruce Willis, and I could watch that movie again just to see Jeff Daniels in his 10 minutes of screen time. I’m not sure how much lasting impact this movie has for me, beyond how cool it was. It has lots of what I like to call the “trappings” of a great movie—lots of little markers and suggestions of coolness, a good aesthetic, some memorable lines of dialogue, music, or plot elements: a general tone that feels cool and ignites something desirable. So in that sense, I definitely want to see this film again, but it’s as a spectator rather than as a critic. But, these days, that’s enough.

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2 responses to “Looper (USA, 2012)

  1. Pingback: Breaking Bad, Season 5 Part One (USA, 2012) | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Oldboy (USA, 2013) | Offhand Reviews·

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