Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

January 25, 2013

‘Looper’ among years best despite snub

DVD Review

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — As those deemed award worthy by the Academy elite have already been bestowed nominations for the latest round, it’s time once gain to consider one of the many determined too lowly and snubbed. So why wouldn’t this include science fiction, the often ignored cousin of comedy, only when they couldn’t find an artsy enough alternative for best original composition or special effects.

I suppose when those who make a living out of nitpicking every perceived imperfection get something like a time travel entry, the paradoxes alone give them no pause for rejection. Alas, this is one of those instances one really wants to stick their worn out judging criteria where the sun don’t shine and give credit for what feels like one of the freshest and raw ideas this genre has seen in quite some time. “Looper” poses rather important humanity related questions like how much damage we would cause to protect our own interests and whether or not we would do the right thing in our own spiritual battle against evil.

Set in not at all bright and cheerful 2044, life for most people seems to be limited to a career selection of hobo, prostitute or thug for organized crime. For those who can stomach the criminal gig like Joseph Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the work is pretty simple in that mob bosses from the even further future of 2074 send back people they want killed as a part of a looper contract.

The unfortunate part of being this type of killer for hire is that once the mob bosses want to end your contract, they send an older version of yourself to be eliminated as a way of closing the loop forever. Simmons gets by like a lot of scum mostly fine either getting high on the drug of the day or hoarding his silver paid for killing until he encounters a fellow looper friend Seth Richards (Paul Dano) who is on the run after he cannot finish his contract. From there the story is on instant awesome sauce with the rest of the flick picking up speed when Simmons older self (played by Bruce Willis) also manages to escape being looped.

What keeps one interested is the powerful inner conflict and relationship between a man who is supposed to be the same person, but in many ways becomes two as each is not satisfied accepting the same outcome. What should be confusing works out so well as we can’t help but feel the pain experienced by the older Simmons and also want to root for the younger version who realizes he can actually make the world a better place.

Adding to the movie is other great performances like Sara Rollings (Emily Blunt), a mother hoping for a better future for her child and Cid Harrington (Pierce Gagnon), her five year old boy who adds an almost “Shining” or “Omen” like flair to the plot. It’s not a movie that’s afraid to throw punches and if you can keep an open mind, it’s something I highly recommend watching at least once. Overall, “Looper” earns a respectable four out of five rain makers.

DVD rental courtesy of Family Video of Pauls Valley.