Spoilers, but trust me, I’m saving you time… zing.
I actively hated this movie. Usually when I watch a film, show, etc. I shut off the analytical part of my brain off. I take the story for what it is, reviewing it after. If I process the movie as I’m watching it, the plot line becomes predictable, and I end up ruining it for myself. I’m typically successful at this. Occasionally, something happens that breaks the story for me, taking me completely out of the experience. From there I can’t help but pick the movie apart. Filmography errors stand out (like a clock in the background being hours different every time it’s seen across the same 3 minute scene), or the same 6 cars are used for the entire film. I’m pretty forgiving of most errors in productions making the ones that ruin the experience for me pretty egregious. Much like this movie.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I love time travel stories. After seeing the trailer, this movie seemed to be made for me. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL) and Bruce Willis star as the same character, with Willis playing the older time displaced version. The amazing first act sets up the movie (as all good first acts should). Farther in the future than the present this movie takes place in, time travel exists and is outlawed. A crime syndicate sends people back to the past to be killed and disposed of (by a Looper) because… whatever. Through a lot of heavy narration, we learn when a Looper’s future self is sent back, his loop is closed, he gets a big payday, and is free to do whatever. We see what happens when the future self runs, and the way they fix this is really well thought out.
Ending the first act we see the diner scene from the trailer of JGL and Willis sitting down to discuss their problem. After this the movie completely falls apart. Jarringly we’re introduced to two new characters on a farm, a woman and her probably mental son. Willis is going around killing kids with the same birthday because he’ll grow up to be some crime lord who kills is wife. The idea is fine but the execution falls flat. JGL knows about one of these kids and spends the rest of the movie on this farm waiting for Willis to show up. Incredibly boring.
Oh, and here’s the best deus ex machina part. Within the first 5 minutes of the movie they briefly mention that people have telekinetic powers (TK), able to move things with their minds, but only small things. Not to be mentioned again until quickly in the third act, reminding you it existed (I completely forgot by then) so the ending didn’t seem completely out of nowhere. The half mental kid is apparently an insanely powerful TK and blah blah blah.
Wasn’t it abrupt and offsetting how I clumsily mentioned the telekinetic part just now? Welcome to Looper.
Don’t get me wrong, JGL did an amazing job essentially playing Bruce Willis (with the assistance of some makeup). He did have his mannerism and face ticks down perfectly. But that novelty wore out pretty quick.