I have wanted to see this movie since I saw the trailer come out last year. This past week I finally had the chance to view it. I really thought the premise was new and unique. It is a time travel movie which is set in the near future of this century. The main part of the story is set in 2044 when time travel has not been discovered or invented yet. Once time-travel is established it is swiftly outlawed therefore it becomes the jurisdiction of organized crime. Crime bosses begin sending people from the future back to the past of 2044 to be assassinated. These assassins are paid with silver bars strapped to the victims back. They assassins kill their victims as they immediately materialize in the past.
When your service as an assassin is no longer needed your future self is sent back to you for assassination. Since all the victims are hooded when they appear in the past for assassination, the assassins never know who they are killing. You will not know you have killed your future self until you see that instead of silver bars being strapped to the back of the victim, you will find gold bars instead, thanking you for your service. The assassins loop is now closed, which is why these assassins are called loopers.
The movie stars Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt. Willis and Gordon-Levitt play the older and younger versions of the main character Joe Simmons. Everything is going well for Young Joe. The silver bars that are found on the victims are to be given to the head Crime Lord in the present (2044). The Crime Lord, played by Jeff Daniels, is well aware that Young Joe is keeping half of the silver for himself. One day an unhooded victim materializes before Young Joe and it turns out to be his future self, who in no way is ready to be killed. Old Joe has come to the past to kill the Crime Lord, called the Rainmaker, who is in charge of the crime syndicate in the future. After confronting his younger self in a diner where he tells his younger self that he has turned his life around in the future, Young Joe makes it clear to his older self that he is going to finish the job and close the loop.
In 2044 the future Crime Lord, the Rainmaker, is just a child, so Old Joe is looking for him but is not clear on his identity. It just so happens that the young rainmaker, who has telekinetic powers, lives in the farm-house next to where Young Joe kills his victim. The Rainmaker’s mother or guardian (the movie is not clear on that point) and Young Joe hold out in the farm-house protecting the young boy. As this is going on assassins are after Young Joe for his failure to close the loop and kill his older self. We also discover that Old Joe is out to kill the rainmaker because the rainmaker kills his wife in the future after she had helped him turn his life around.
I do not like to spoil films so I will not go into detail on how the film ends.
This film was on many reviewers lists as being one of the best of 2012. I really wanterd to like this movie much more than I did. I like time-travel movies and mafia movies so what is not to like? I think I am losing my enjoyment for very violent films and this is a very violent film. I have more to discuss on that topic on Wednesday’s blog. The later part of the movie depicts Old Joe killing children he suspects as the rainmaker. Although the film doesn’t show the killings but it does show Old Joe going after them and it is mentioned in the film that Old Joe has killed them. I generally don’t like movies with a dystopian view of the future and although we don’t get a view of the majority of society, just organized crime, the move does show a bleak future is many ways. I think the word bleak is a good description of the movie.
Another complain of the film is that once we get to the farm-house and the interactions between Young Joe, rainmaker (called Cid as a younger child) and his mother Sara, the movie actually slows down and gets a little tedious for me. There is a plot hole in the movie where we see Young Joe actually killing Old Joe but then at some point arrive back to that scene but this time Old Joe escapes. I don’t think the reasons for that are well explained.
I usually like Bruce Willis. I recently read a book by Kevin Smith who directed Cop Out a movie starring Bruce Willis. Smith did not have a lot of positive things to say about Willis. One of the things he mentioned in his book was that Willis didn’t want to memorize a lot of dialogue and changed many scenes so he didn’t have to speak. That came to mind with this film. Other than the diner scene with his younger self, Willis doesn’t have a lot of dialogue in the movie. I felt disconnected to his character because of that.
This movie is essentially joyless and that is one of the reasons I didn’t care for it. That along with the violence and the slower pace of the second act where the movie drags. I was going to turn the movie off but was engaged enough to see it through to the end. I really did like the performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whom I had recently seen in the Dark Knight Rises. He is a bright spot in a dark and somber film.