If you’re looking for convention and routine, Looper isn’t going to be your most fulfilling catch. Here we have a film that incorporates time travel but doesn’t go balls out with showing off technology or advances. Normally the two go hand-in-hand, but we’re shown stuff that’s as subtle as it is familiar, aesthetically. The focus instead rests on the story and characters, one of which is normally compromised for the other in other sci-fi films. But since we have less blunt distractions in our way, the focus remains where many will argue it should be.
Speaking of the story, quite a bit goes on here and, without spoiling anything, let’s just say that ties and lines are twisted and strained. We’re given a modest future, to say the least, where people from even later on are sent back to be killed and literally eliminated–no traces or fingerprints to find. It’s a premise that will either fascinate or frustrate you (or both) the more you dig into it, which you can argue as being part of the fun here.
Actually, that might be the only fun you’ll get, as the film doesn’t tread lightly. Save two or three chuckles, you’re really left with a serious face during the film’s runtime. Thankfully, this is an engaging watch with hardly a slow or dragging moment. That said, there were points I was saying to myself “man, I wish this movie was a lot longer so we could get and see more.” On one hand it’s great that I’m being sucked in, but on the other I feel like since more sci-fi films stretch well past the 2 hour mark, why not Looper?
This is also to say that you shouldn’t expect a building climax that builds to epic proportions. Looper is, at its core, a fairly personal story that brings several characters into play, but doesn’t show or build things to a grand, awe-inspiring scale. Think of it like The Terminator with less indication of the war in the future.
Shape and spectacle are not what you should look for in Looper; but instead thought and personal investment. The idea and premise is less original and more innovative, but it’s nice to get a little something different. And with a year already full of solid films, it should have no problem fitting comfortably on most viewer’s top releases of the year.