If anybody starts complaining to you that this movie is bad because of [insert complaint about movie's use of time travel here] it is your moral duty to punch them in their stupid face.
So is it okay to say that Looper is bad because of inconsistent visuals, terrible pacing, random logical inconsistencies, and clunky dialogue?
Mr 2.0: I too had this thought, despite not having seen the movie. Mr Godking is a bit of a one for damning with faint praise.
I liked the movie overall, especially the depressing and violent depiction of the future and the references to today’s class struggle.
I did however have a problem with how they “fridged” the woman who helped Joe(Bruce Willis)overcome his problems. She didn’t get one line of dialogue for crying out loud!
JCHandsom – That was the main problem I had with the movie too; it was particularly egregious in a movie with only two other female characters, although at least Blunt and Perabo’s characters were fairly strong (even if they seemed primarily to be defined as mothers).
The use of time travel was essentially the same system as BTTF, although used in much nastier ways. I still don’t really buy that way of conceiving the effects of time travel, but at least they were generally faithful to their own rules, and used it to explore some hoary old SF ideas in interesting ways.
The movie was going along pretty well until the farm. Then it turned into Terminator vs. Carrie and the pace just stopped dead. I certainly wouldn’t call the movie bad, but the second half veered off and never felt like it got back on track.
Also, that straight-up steal/homage to the end of Mad Max seemed kind of needless.
Man, how awesome was Jeff Daniels, though?
I am someone who nitpicks the *hell* out of everything I watch… and yet I enjoyed this movie immensely. There are certainly some cases where you can look at that ending and say ‘Ummmmmm..’
Like.. if that worked that way and solved the problem in that situation… wouldn’t it also work that way pertaining to all the other situations where that problem was the solution? It’s at best a paradox.
(And that is a spoiler free question…. though maybe not clear enough for folks who actually saw the movie either)
But. I really liked the movie despite some moments of temporal paradox.
I would have been thrilled if we had women outside of the madonna/whore roles (I’m a wife! I’m a mom! I’m a prostitute!). Though I do think they made Blunt’s character as deep as they could in the time allowed. Unfortunately I don’t think they really had time to flesh out the woman who helped save Willis, and while it would have been nice to get at least some dialogue, they were going to be giving it short shrift either way.
I think the main reason Willis’s wife is given such a tiny role is that the filmmaker was taking pains to make the young guy the protagonist rather than the old guy.
@Joel: Daniels and JGL do make a great team, don’t they? They were really good together in The Lookout.
@Christian: Keeping away from the specifics of time mechanics, paradoxes don’t seem to matter much, unless they do. It’s Timey Wimey.
I was a lot more annoyed by the inconsistencies of the single-shot gun that suddenly turned into a pump-action shotgun with the infinite-ammo cheat turned on when the plot demanded. Or when Bruce Willis fires a handcannon in the middle of a residential neighborhood, next to a playground, with a woman walking a stroller 15 yards away, and no one reacts.
JCHandsom et al: SRSLY. I forgave Rian Johnson for the lack of female characters in Brick, because it’s traditional noir, it’s a small cast, and it’s told so tightly through Brendan (JGL)’s POV. I grumbled about Brothers Bloom, but that at least had the strong implication that Bang Bang and, um, Rachel Weisz’s character had long involved phone conversations.
Looper, though… three women who are onscreen for more than a second, one of whom is mute (and killed), and all of whom exist only for Joe to be emotionally involved with. What is this, 1970? There’s no excuse for that.
Christian: “Like.. if that worked that way and solved the problem in that situation… wouldn’t it also work that way pertaining to all the other situations where that problem was the solution? It’s at best a paradox.”
The only thing I can come up with is that nobody knew (nobody was willing to test) what happens if you invoke that solution. Jeff Daniels says something at one point about “that’d be too much of a change.”
Or when Bruce Willis fires a handcannon in the middle of a residential neighborhood, next to a playground, with a woman walking a stroller 15 yards away, and no one reacts.
But by then, it had been established that people in that world can shoot each other in broad daylight and nobody would react.
@John 2.0: Conceded. And I do think they made enough clever usage of that earlier that i can forgive it in this case. (Seriously, how can a scene be both gruesome, and completely bloodless?)
@Tucker: You’re close to my point. I’m saying that the solution that’s finally enacted, should have invoked the ‘too much of a change’ clause regarding other events.
The other question I have, which isn’t spoilery given that it’s the premise of the movie. If the mob has time travel, and has enough control that they can at points in future blatantly kill people and burn down houses… why do they need to stash bodies in the past?
After all…. the woman who gets ‘fridged’ would have presented a disposal problem too, yes?
Still, really enjoyed the movie, despite those issues.
SPOILER SPOILER did anybody else have this nagging feeling that somehow the Rainmaker is supposed to be another version of Joe?
I mean, yes, Joe has no TK. And it doesn’t link up right. And the similarities in their backstory could be there purely for thematic purposes.
But then Emily is brushing his hair the way Joe’s mother did and we cut to Rainmaker right after and Jeff Daniels said he saw Joe on his way to being a Rainmaker-type but he changed it and what if Rainmaker is another alternate timeline for Joe and what if that’s a consequence of “too much of a change” or something?!!?!???
MORE SPOILER: Yeah, I really don’t understand the entire ‘we can’t change the timeline too much’ business when you have a guy from the future running a murder squad in the middle of a city, who’s every action would completely change the future. Or how a armless, legless, noseless, horribly scarred-up Seth has exactly the same timeline as regular 50 year-old Seth. Or anything Old Joe does what he comes back.
I assume the time travel rules are similar to the Marvel Universe, where you just go to another timeline, since we see Joe’s ‘regular’ future and ‘non-closed loop’ future timelines. But even that’s a bit wonky, since I assume Cid’s bullet wound leads to the ‘artificial jaw’ the Rainmakers supposedly has that Old Joe mentions, which presupposes that Cid’s timeline always included Old Joe (to kill his mother, and drive him to kill all the loopers). And while we’re at it: If the Loopers all know they’re to be killed in 30 years, since time travel is so damn illegal, does one really not get the idea to go to whatever Governmental agency to forbids time travel (and is so powerful and threatening to the mob that it makes temporal body disposal a necessity) and get witness protection? They do not seem like a particularly trustworthy bunch. Any why need Loopers in the first place. Just build an airtight box around the reentry sight, so strap a bomb to the future guys.
Anyway, I can buy the wonky time mechanics.
D’oh, hit enter too fast. Anyway, I can buy the timey wimey stuff, it’s the ‘I can’t figure out why the hell they do it this way’ stuff, the stuff that drives the plot, that I have a hard time with.
@Tucker: “and it’s told so tightly through Brendan (JGL)’s POV”
How’s that any different from this movie? It’s about Joe, young and old.
I’m all for nitpicking but there is so much that is unique and worthwhile in this movie and about this director that if you nitpick and cannot enjoy it at the same time, then yes, face punching etc should ensue.
@The Unstoppable Gravy Express: given that we are explicitly told that the Rainmaker is the threat,and the person we meet was born earlier in the timeline than the events in the movie… I don’t think it’s possible that Joe is the Rainmaker.
SO MUCH SPOILER
@Christian: It totally may not be possible. But something did occur to me, that hinges on how JGL’s voiceover at the end uses the same language as Jeff Daniels earlier on. WHAT IF:
–Bruce kills Emily, Cid goes to town and becomes Rainmaker, forges criminal empire
–Criminal empire sends Jeff back in time
–Jeff encounters Cid as he arrives in town and changes his fate… Cid becomes JGL instead
–Fanwank: JGL has head trauma that makes him lose his TK and makes memories of Mom fuzzy
–JGL embarks on events of movie
Clearly there is that pivotal fanwank step, but the use of the same speech by Jeff and JGL makes me think maybe there’s something to this. Like, at least, maybe that’s what Rian Johnson thinks happened, even if maybe it doesn’t actually hold up to scrutiny?
Also when JGL arrives at the farm he has that massive migrane thing, which Emily says is withdrawal, but could also be a time-paradox alternate-timelines-converging migrane?
@The Unstoppable Gravy Express
Except that JGL doesn’t get sent back in time.
Neither JGL nor Cid have traveled through time at all in the movie, only Willis does.
So…. unless there’s some way that JGL was born 20 years before Cid, and also born as Cid… that theory doesn’t hold water at all.
Okay, that’s true. BUT….if we edit the fanwank step to be “JGL suffers head trauma, loses his TK, memories get fuzzy, AND he goes back in time” then… er…
Yeah, it doesn’t work. Crap.
Though technically it’s not ONLY Willis who time-travels. So does Jeff Daniels. I was trying to use Jeff’s time travel as a way to create more alternate versions of Cid/Joe, but clearly there’s no joy there. I should stop.
Supposedly there are more scenes in the Chinese version of the film involving Joe’s time in China that were cut from the US version because of pacing reasons. Hopefully they wind up in the US dvd release in some form or another. It’d be interesting to see if those scenes added more to the wife’s character.
Though her non-character as it exists in US version does serve to underline the fact that Old Joe is still just as selfish as he accuses his younger self of being. It’s clear that he didn’t give a shit about the Rainmaker until he was personally affected and when he heads back in time to stop the Rainmaker the good it might do for the world is also clearly a distant second in his mind after his desire for revenge. When we hear about the wife from Old Joe he makes it all about him. Why does he love her so much? Because she saved him and that’s the most we get from him as far as reasons. The affect she had on Old Joe seems to be the most important thing in their relationship to him, ahead of any other qualities she may or may not possess. (we can also see this somewhat in the scenes with Young Joe and Piper Perabo’s character, particularly the one where he’s dumping all his feelings on her. It’s clear that she sees him as just another client, but Young Joe is too involved in his own problems to either notice or care) At the end of the movie Old Joe is too wrapped up in his own pain to be reasoned with and it’s Young Joe who commits the first truly unselfish action of the pair and (maybe*) breaks the cycle of men hurting others because they lose their mothers/nurturers.
*Based on the kid actor’s performance, me and my friend still had a hard time believing he could grow up to be good. That boy was scary! Emily Blunt sure has her work cut out for her.
For a few minutes I thought Abe was the Rainmaker; after conquering the future he sends himself back to clear the decks for his ascension, the theory went.
That said, I’m glad the story at least avoided some of the usual tropes, even if JGL’s make-up job made him look like Al Pacino in Dick Tracy at times.
If you enjoyed this movie then you’re either
B. so used to shitty hollywood remakes/rehashed ideas that anything even remotely original will blow you away
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