Monday 24 September 2012


I fucking love time travel films. I find the whole concept and potential consequences of fannying about in the space-time continuum so mind-squashingly bonkers that I can't believe there are some time travel films out there that aren't completely brilliant. Still, anyone who's seen shit like Timeline, Hot Tub Time Machine or Star Trek Generations knows that with enough lack of attention to detail and lazy scripting, it is perfectly possible to make a pig's ballbag out of a flux capacitor.

It was therefore with no small amount of trepidation and director Rian Johnson's mediocre CV in mind (let's be honest, Brick is just Bugsy Malone without songs or splurge guns) that I approached Looper. I needn't have worried: it's really quite brilliant. Even the prosthetics used to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look like a young Bruce Willis are seamless.
Like all the best time travel movies, Looper's plot does something completely fresh with its well-worn catalyst, and the first hour or so fizzes with genius as hitman JGL hooks up with his future self, Bruce Willis. After a fairly exposition-heavy opening, Johnson unleashes a barrage of ingenuity at the screen which includes a chillingly original torture scene, a way-more-fun-than-it-sounds conversation in a diner and an audaciously virtuoso montage which condenses thirty years into a few tempestuous minutes. It even boasts satisfyingly textured characters - well, character - in JGL and Willis' Joe, a hired killer with constantly-shifting motives that may or may not justify some frankly questionable behaviour.

And then, just as you've acclimatised to its 88 miles-per-hour pace, the film makes a crunching gear change, slams on the brakes and pulls up into the driveway of


Suddenly we find ourselves in confined drama territory, which initially feels like a breather from the preceding whirlwind of ideas, but which goes on for so long that by the time the film ends it feels like somebody turned over to Doc Martin while you were in the middle of an episode of Spartacus. I take my replica Marty McFly Junior multichromatic PVC hat off to Rian Johnson for daring to avoid the tiresome structure that props up most sci-fi these days, but this tranche of Looper - which, it should be noted, contains several moments of standout brilliance - shifts almost all the focus away from what made the first hour so great.

Despite Emily Blunt's Farm of Lethargy, Looper is still a welcome and dazzling addition to the time travel subgenre. It's just that if you could go back in time and meet your pre-Looper self, you'd tell them to manage their expectations accordingly, and therefore you might find yourself enjoying the film more. In these pre-time-travel days, though, it looks like we'll just have to make do with a second viewing.

1 comment :

  1. Now we know that a hybrid of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis is infact Danny Dyer... Weird!