Time travel is a tricky business to pull off. In movies anyway, I can’t speak for real life. The opportunity for unnecessarily complex explanations or just plain old plot holes is so big you’re almost guaranteed to slip up somewhere. There are exceptions, obviously – Source Code, I’m looking at you – but most of the time I come across something which employs it extensively, I’m dubious. The same goes for Looper, a science fiction film about future criminal gangs who use time travel to zap assassination targets back in time to the “present” (the year 2044) where Loopers are paid to deal with them and dispose of the bodies. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Joe, one of said Loopers, and our film centres on the idea of ‘closing the loop’ – having to dispose of yourself from the future. In this case, Joe’s future self is played by Bruce Willis, and when he escapes into the present after Joe hesitates to kill him all manner of chaos breaks out, mainly in the form of people shooting people.
Writer/director Rian Johnson’s third film, Looper is a rip-roaring sci fi action fest. It’s such good fun and moves so fast that with any hint of a plot hole or paradox there’s no chance of the audience thinking “wait, what?” before we’re on to the next setpiece. Gordon-Levitt fits the role perfectly, doing his best young Bruce Willis impersonation, and the action comes thick and fast with some brutal moments that provoked more than one audible reaction from those watching. The story felt a tad baggy at parts: Emily Blunt as the love interest springs to mind when thinking of a few scenes that could have done with a trim. Alarm bells rang when her young son Cid was introduced, as annoying children don’t often endear people to the story (Jurassic Park, anyone?) but Pierce Gagnon does a fine job and I imagine we’ll be seeing a lot more from him in the future.
However, what the script lacked in sharpness it made up for in sheer entertainment value. As reserved as I am, I love a good time-travel romp, and this failed to disappoint. We’re seeing something of a renaissance in science fiction films at the moment, and Looper can certainly count itself among the better ones. If you think about it carefully, there are discrepancies and plot holes abound, and coming out of the cinema I spent a good long time chatting about it with my friends. But then I thought, who cares if the threads don’t all match up? The fact remains that I’m still talking about it a week later, and I had a fantastic time. Isn’t that what cinema is all about?