Time After Time

Despite my efforts to avoid hype so that I can go into movies with no expectations to taint my reaction, watching Brick and perusing the Fall Movie Preview really got my blood pumping for Looper. This is Rian Johnson's third feature, and has been the center of online chatter on the sites/podcasts I frequent. After seeing it, Johnson joins the short list of filmmakers/producers whose work I will automatically be interested in, no matter what the topic (I haven't seen The Brothers Bloom yet, but I'm working on it).

A lot of the discussion surrounding this movie was concern that it would be an overly-dense time travel movie that prizes complexity over story-telling. Not that a movie like that could ever exist. They needn't have worried. This a story-driven movie that uses time travel as a framing device, not a time travel movie with bits of plot around the edges. It explores several topics and explores them well, from the needs of one versus the needs of the many, to how our present and future selves realistically have very little in common.

Looper is ostensibly about a group of assassins who murder people sent back in time from the future, and close out their contracts by taking out their future selves. Naturally, things go awry when those future selves don't feel like being shot and dumped in an incinerator. That's really just the basis of the plot, though, and it expands outwards into stories of economic disparity and protecting loved ones from assaults both physical and temporal.

It's been two days since I've seen it, and I'm still turning over scenes in my mind. It's extremely well-written and well-acted. Bruce Willis is always reliable as a stone-cold badass, and I don't think Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Emily Blunt have ever been anything but impressive. All of the character motivations make sense, to the point that the audience could reasonably root for any of them. I don't even really have any nerdy nitpicks about potential plot holes opened up by the time travel. Tons of care and thought went into this movie, and it shows. Now, if only I could pop into a time machine and see it with fresh eyes again.

Looper: A-


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