It’s high time for Geek Faith Tribe’s Looper Movie Review. This review contains spoilers.
Looper Movie Review: The Art
- First, overall impressions. I’ve heard people say Looper is an amazing movie. I disagree. It’s a mess of a movie with a fantastic concept, brilliantly acted. The first half of Looper is a claustrophobic, relentless, urban terror plot. The second is a spacious, rural waiting game. I don’t get it.
- Second, Looper’s nudity is entirely gratuitous. Almost like it was added later to spice things up.
- Third, Looper’s future world is flat and unimaginative. Apparently we use a lot more spray paint in the future and a few of us ride hoverbikes. I never bought into Looper’s future world (though I really liked the Blunderbusses).
- Fourth, there is no character development in Looper. Like, none. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character) is a shallow, self-absorbed, live for the moment jerk who would do anything—to anyone—to protect his own skin. Great pains are taken throughout the film to show us that he hasn’t grown one bit. Until the final scene, that is, where he does the most altruistic, selfless thing a person can do. It left me asking, “Huh?! Why’d he do that?”
- Fifth, Looper’s villain, the mysterious Rainmaker, never gripped me. Screenplay writers told me he was evil, but they didn’t show me he was evil. We never met the future him, so I didn’t care either way. If you’re building the case for a future Kaiser Soze, take the time to build the mythology by painting chilling pictures in my mind.
Looper Movie Review: The Concept and Theme
The concept Looper is built on—time travel assassins one day faced with killing their future selves—is brilliant. This part of the movie is delivered to powerful effect. I loved it. The scene where a future Looper gradually falls apart gave me chills.
Even more powerful, though, was Looper’s setup of the age old question, “Is the future written in stone?” The question is married to an even older, human one: “Can people change?” This, of course, is one of the best questions a person can ask. Unfortunately, none of the characters really change during the movie. This shortcoming undermines the journey and the power the question could have held in it’s delivery.
In the end, Joe chooses to believe that people, even people with a predisposition toward evil, can change. This change is represented by choice. He chooses a self-sacrificing path, hoping the boy will choose a different path when given a chance to do so. This is what makes that moment so powerful: Joe sacrifices himself for the mere hope for change, not the certainty of change.
Joe’s sacrifice is a powerful echo of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Like Joe, Jesus knew he wasn’t dying for change, but for the chance to change. He knew most people would take the gift he’s offered and ignore or even waste it. He knew most of the seeds he planted wouldn’t mature into a world-changing crop. He gave us the chance anyway.
Joe is a murderous, self-absorbed, mildly charming scuzzball. “Ooh, too bad,” we mutter, as he sacrifices himself—but the world won’t be much poorer without him in it. Jesus’ death, on the other hand, is the epitome of tragedy. He was totally innocent, but not in an untouchable way. He’d already spent his entire earthly life rolling up his sleeves, getting involved, serving humanity with blood, sweat, and tears.
When Jesus was gone, he left a gaping hole—a hole he’s counting on us, his followers, to fill.
Jesus died to give me and you a chance. A chance to take his offer for a new hope, a new future, a new life, a new master. A chance to give others that chance by giving our lives, too.
Me? I’m all in.
Funny where a Looper Movie Review can take us.
Have you seen Looper? Did you like it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!