The Power of Potential
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 01:10
Where to begin, where to begin, and more importantly, where to end? “LOOPER,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s smash drama thriller about a circular time travel expedition, hit theatres this week. The film was as mind-boggling and intricate as humanly possible.
The story takes place in the year 2040, where time travel is thought to be impossible. It is used by criminal organizations to destroy human threats in the future by bringing them to the past, where they are immediately killed. We then meet Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a hired assassin called a Looper that is employed to kill these potential threats and gets paid lavishly for his duties. However, one very dangerous risk comes with this occupation—the possibility that at one point you will have to murder yourself to protect the secret of time-travel, aka ‘closing the Loop.’ When a Looper kills his future self, he is ensured thirty years of life and enough gold to support himself until his eminent death, but is still faced with the reality that his time of death is set in stone.
Little does Joe know, the only reason he is faced with the possibility of killing his future self is because of a ruthless dictator called 'The Rainmaker' in the future closing the Loop of all the hired assassins. Of course, this rare chance of self-elimination happens for our good ol' hero.
As he waits patiently for his next paycheck to appear in front of him in the form of a captured stranger, he is surprised to find a familiar face—his own. Joe aims to kill his target anyway to protect his present self, but is outwitted by future Joe (played by Bruce Willis), who is a skilled fighter, and aims to work against his past self to save his wife (who was killed by this organization in an effort to murder future Joe). Confused yet? You should be. It only gets more complex from here.
As the movie progresses, we watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis duke it out to protect and help their own personal causes, and future Joe, seeing an opportunity to live in the past and fix the future, aims to kill the potential dictator. Present Joe simply wishes to kill his future self, to ensure his own safety and claim his cash. This all involves insane fight scenes, dazzling gun shows, and some downright excellent dialogue.
From the view of an aspiring screenwriter, one should be absolutely amazed at the writing in this film. Everything the characters say, from the beginning of the movie until the very end, is unknowingly connected in this loop of time (pun totally intended). In the end of the movie, everything unfolds to a great and inspiring crescendo about the possibilities of all human life and our abilities to create and mold our own futures. On the way to these epic connection between all the characters in the film, you should be thoroughly entertained from the snappy, all-knowing comebacks of Bruce Willis to the adorable boyish appeal of Joseph Gordon-Levitt; from a nude scene that, well, let’s just say isn’t intended for the ladies to a frighteningly fantastic performance by the young future dictator to fend off his enemies. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is utterly charming, as usual, and Bruce Willis is as grizzly and badass as always.
The special effects – which include a dab of telekinetic power, some futuristic flying motorcycles, and even bodies exploding in midair – are excellent and have the audience completely enveloped in this ultramodern society. By the end of the movie, you are on the edge of your seat, not caring about the looks you may receive from others for being so invested. I couldn’t resist cheering for Joe as he embarked on his journey to kill the Rainmaker, and throwing fists myself as Bruce Willis knocked out a couple of spies, his white, shiny head glistening in the wind and implying a prosperous victory.
This thriller seemed to get more and more intense as it went on, and much more mind contorting. There are often little tidbits of wisdom about the past, present and future. For example, Bruce Willis’ character describes his memories as ‘possibilities,’ because present Joe had all the likelihoods to change his future in the palm of his hand. Again, a theme of alternate universes leaves one with their jaw hanging open wide after a few more of these eye-opening moments in the film. These characters had the chance to change whatever they wanted in the present to affect their future, which sometimes involved going back in time to create this loop of reality, which all came together in the finale.
This is the kind of movie that you should pay great attention to, as one missed scene could mean the difference between understanding or hating the movie. If you enjoy thrillers with constant action but still enough smarts to keep you thinking throughout the duration of the movie, you will adore “LOOPER.” Certainly a far cry from any other film out in theaters this week, it is a revolutionary look inside the enigma of life, the potential to change our futures, and the negative repercussions of failing to do so.
Overall, I give it a 10/10, five stars, a great big ‘A.’ Between the dazzling plotline, the spectacular acting from both lead men, and the thought-provoking theme, “LOOPER” had me hooked, and my eyes are wide open for whatever other gems will be starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the future. It’s safe to say that I’ll never look at the present quite the same way.
* "LOOPER" also stars Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels and marks the third collaboration of writer/director Rian Johnson with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.