Looper (2012) (R)

So it's the future....that much seems obvious from the forced narration of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the run down but technologically advanced buildings and the people that can use telekinesis.
But we are told it's the future over and over in the beginning of "Looper" to make sure that we don't forget because the movie itself is mainly about the past.
When the year 2074 rolls around, time travel is invented; but you see in 2044 (which is when our protagonist Joe is living) time travel has not been invented yet. So the mob from 2074 will send victims back to 2044 where people called "loopers" will kill them and then dispose of the body...clean and efficient.
But these loopers will always have to kill themselves...that's just how it goes. Once you know of the mob a victim will be sent back to you with a bag over their head (they all have bags on their heads) and once you kill them and look at the money attached you realize that you just killed yourself. But don't worry, you won't kill you for another 30 years. So for now you can live off the large amounts of money that the mob sent you.
So Joe knows this day will come and he's unsure if he will stick around to find out whether or not he wants to kill himself.
Oh, that's another thing. If you don't kill yourself, very bad things happen. This is demonstrated for us and I'd rather not reminisce on it.
Joe decides that he may want out but not before his own self gets sent back to him and he has to shoot himself, which he doesn't. Old Joe escapes and Young Joe knows that if he doesn't high tail it out of there he's going to end up stuffed on someone's mantel.
As Young Joe flees, Old Joe reveals why he wants to live so badly. There is a tyrannical power in 2074 just called The Rainmaker and Old Joe is determined to find the man as a child and kill him. Yeah, killing babies is just so darn marketable.
Young Joe flees to the country where he meets the best part of "Looper"—Sara and her freaky kid Cid.
There are two theaters in "Looper"—the city, crime one and the county sentimental one. I would have preferred the whole movie to take place in the city buzzing with activity and crime but that's not what I got. I got a mother who was so dedicated to her unloving son that she would be willing to do anything for him. I got a man who suddenly falls for this woman even though he's a stone-cold killer. I got the obligatory sex scene thrown in just to make the adult viewers satiated. I also got a man who's got really big mommy issues but those can just disappear when convenient.
"Looper" wanted the backing of the story to be sci-fi so that a more intimate portrait could be painted but it needed more of a backbone than it had.
All of the events lead up to a "Sixth Sense" ending that you can spot a mile away but after leaving the theater there were still a million questions zipping around in my head that I couldn't put my finger on. "Looper" should have been much more grounded in science to then convey an emotional story. "Minority Report" does it right but "Looper" fails.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's face is digitally altered to look more like his older version, Bruce Willis; which throughout most of the movie is heavily distracting. They should have just kept everyone the way they were. If you can't pull off the make-up, convince people you're the same person with acting.
Emily Blunt as Sara was my favorite part of "Looper" and I was somewhat surprised to see her snubbed at the awards shows since "Looper" was such a love child of the critics in 2012.
The most surprising part of "Looper" is a smash, break-out performance by Pierce Gagnon as Cid. The little boy is given some monster lines and he delivers all of them without appearing to have been coached.
"Looper" wanted to be moving but wasn't. It shouldn't have begun with the narration and the sweeping shots of a desolate (albeit advanced) society. It should have begun with a dialogue like "The Social Network"; something to prove to the audience that even though time has changed, people have remained the same.
All-in-all, "Looper" was a grand attempt at something complicated and hard to pull off.
It could have been great had there been something a little more human in the script.

Score: 2 and a half stars out of 4

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