Friday, May 10, 2013

Film Friday: Looper (2012)

Rotten Tomatoes gives Looper a 93% fresh rating and describes the consensus thusly: “As thought-provoking as it is thrilling, Looper delivers an uncommonly smart, bravely original blend of futuristic sci-fi and good old-fashioned action.” Well. . . no. Yes, it is “as thought-provoking as it is thrilling,” but that’s because it registers close to zero on both counts. It’s not uncommonly smart either, nor is it original. Still, I’m going to recommend you see it. Why? Allow me to explain.

** MAJOR spoiler alert **
Looper takes place in 2044 in what appears to be Robocop’s Detroit moved to Kansas. Crime and drug use are common and people get paid in silver and gold bars for some reason. The story follows a “looper” named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). A looper is someone who kills people for the mob. Apparently, in the future, it will be nearly impossible to get rid of a body. Why? Who knows, that part of the film isn’t developed. Fortunately for the mob, one-way time travel has been invented. So they send the people they want killed to the past and the loopers shoot them and get rid of the bodies. They are called “loopers” because at some point each looper will be sent their future selves to be killed. At that point, they get a bunch of money and can live happily for thirty years until they are sent back to be shot by themselves. That’s called “closing the loop.”
Joe is a looper and one day he is sent his furture-self (Bruce Willis), but Bruce-Joe gets the drop on Joe-Joe and escapes. So now the mob tries to hunt down both Joe and Bruce while Joe hunts down Bruce to redeem himself with the mob. In the meantime, Bruce is trying to stop a mysterious and powerful person from taking over the mob and closing all the loops, which will result in Bruce’s wife being killed by accident. As Joe hunts Bruce, Joe discovers this mob boss as a kid who comes across like Damien Thorn. Some stuff happens.
Um. . . Yeah
This movie has lots of problems. It is a plodding predictable film that takes place in a bleak but uninteresting setting. Joe is not an interesting or likable character either. Bruce is more interesting, but the film barely delves into his story. There’s no tantalizing look into the future either, and most of what happens in the film feels like it was inserted just to make the plot work. For example, the film is set in 2044, but it might as well be 2012 since the clothing, the buildings, and the cars all look like 2012. BUT, one character just happens to buy a hovering motorcycle. This bike totally feels out-of-place in the film because it is the only “futuristic” vehicle in the film - everyone else drives circa-2012 cars, with Chevrolet’s Silverado featuring prominently. Nor is the bike new, it looks ancient, so there should be others, but there aren’t. So why include the bike? Because a character will need it later in the film.

Similarly, for no reason I can see, the loopers are given guns called “blunderbusses” which are shotguns that only shoot about twelve feet. The other mobsters carry chunky home-made looking revolvers called “gats” which have longer ranges but aren’t accurate - no one in this film can hit the broad side of the barn. It’s never explained why anyone would use these guns instead of the much better guns we have today, but the reason appears to be that the film needed to limit the range Joe could shoot at the end and the accuracy with which Bruce could shoot. That’s it. And don’t think it’s because our guns don’t exist anymore because they do. We know this because Bruce just happens to find a couple (Herstal P90) when he needs a machine gun to take down a bunch of mobsters. Again. . . because he needed it.
Much of the film feels this way, with things getting tossed in only because they make a plot point work. Why does Joe have a drug habit? So the woman he meets will sympathize with him. It’s then forgotten. Why do the loopers kill themselves rather than sending them to another looper? Just to cause the movie. Damien’s powers are the same thing. It’s enough that he grows up to be the guy who causes Bruce’s wife to be killed, so he doesn’t need unique special powers to make the story work. . . but they make the ending work, so he gets them.

It feels like the writer wrote the film backwards. It’s as if he wrote the ending and then decided to plant things in the story to make the ending work: “Hmm, if Joe can shoot farther, then he can stop Bruce. . . better give him a gun with limited range. Ok, so the loopers get guns with limited range. Problem solved.” When a film is full of things that only exist to make the plot work, then you’re dealing with a writer who doesn’t have a firm grasp on his story. Heck, they don’t even need the “close the loop” idea, not with Bruce’s motive to change the past, because Bruce could just hijack the time machine to carry out his mission.

As if that wasn’t enough, the film isn’t thought-provoking either. The film thinks that telling you that time travel can create paradoxes should impress you. Good grief. It also commits the cardinal sin of doing something that’s been done before without adding a new twist. In particular, we discover that Bruce’s wife gets killed because Damien sees Bruce kill Damien’s mother, which starts the circle which leads back to Bruce’s wife being killed, which leads Bruce back to killing Damien’s mother. This is Twelve Monkeys, only not as clever.
The film also tries the “If you met Hitler as a child, would you kill him?” routine, but it adds no new twist. Even worse, it’s mishandled because we’re never sure what is really happening. Joe tells us that Bruce killing Damien’s mother will make Damien evil. Thus, stopping Bruce will stop Damien from becoming Damien. But Damien is pretty clearly already evil. And Bruce’s wife was killed by accident when thugs came to close the loop, which would have happened whether Damien was in charge or not. So the whole thing feels like a fraud. It would have been interesting if the film had played up this uncertainty, but it didn’t. Instead, it basically said, “Look, just accept this, I don’t want to bother explaining it or exploring it.”

What bothers me even more though is that the writer constantly tries to cover the films flaws rather than correct them, i.e. he’s LAZY. For example, the film “cheats” by breaking the paradox so the film can be solved. This is done by showing a guy losing his limbs as his younger self gets dismembered. This should change the guy’s past, but it doesn’t. That means the paradox is not real. YET, the writer has a character tell the audience at that moment that they can’t kill the younger guy because that would change the future. . . as if dismembering him wouldn’t. Basically, the writer is trying to sell you on the false idea that the paradox is still real, even though it can’t be, because without the paradox the ending is nonsense.

If the writer did this only once, then it could be forgiven, but it happens over and over. When you notice that 2044 looks a lot like 2012, a character says, “All you kids today copy the old styles, you should do something original,” as if the set design was the result of some stylized choice rather than budget. When you ask who in their right mind would become a looper knowing they will need to kill themselves, Joe suddenly mentions that “this job doesn’t tend to attract the most forward thinking individuals,” as if anyone lacked that much foresight. The whole movie feels like this. Every time you stumble upon a problem, there is some character there to try the Jedi mind-trick on you. . . “Pay no attention to the fact this is nonsense.”

All of this feels like cheating to me. It feels like nothing in this film is thought out. Nothing in this film is original and nothing will surprise you. Nothing rises to the level of making your brain say, huh, that’s neat. Nothing gets your heart pounding in suspense. Too much time is wasted on passing time. They don’t even handle the few good ideas they have well – there are about three good lines of dialog and five interesting moments and the director fails to exploit all of them. This is a really hard movie to like.
Bonus Round: Why You Might Want To See This Film

Ok, so why am I recommending you see this turkey? Well, there’s an interesting moment in the film. After Joe fails to kill Bruce, the film suddenly and inexplicably shows Joe killing Bruce, and then you follow Joe’s life until he becomes Bruce and gets sent back to be shot. My first thought was that this is just a lousy writer trying to show us Bruce’s story in some cool way that doesn’t actually make sense. But it could be more than that.

Consider this: it is impossible for Joe to solve the paradox the way he does unless there is no real paradox, because otherwise, Bruce would vanish, Joe would have no reason to do what he does, and the whole thing would start over. . . they are called paradoxes for a reason. Anyway, what if the point to the film was that you can’t change your history, but you can change your future. Thus, both Joe and Bruce can alter their own futures, but Bruce’s past can’t be changed. In other words, anything done to hurt Joe would affect Bruce from this point forward, but wouldn’t have affected him in the past. This would fit with the dismembered man. As the young man is dismembered the older version notices the changes in real time, even though they should just have been part of his past. His past also clearly should have changed, but it doesn’t. Perhaps that is the idea hidden inside this film? If so, it is an interesting and original idea.

Sadly, however, I doubt this was the film’s intent. For one thing, it’s not developed or discussed in the film. For another, the evidence upon which this is based could just as easily be more evidence of lazy writing. And since the writer has proven himself to be lazy, it is more likely that he just didn’t have a handle on the loop idea. Still, it’s an interesting possibility. That’s why I recommend at least seeing the film.



Tennessee Jed said...

this film was pushed heavily by Direct TV, and I passed. Still, I doubt that I will spend the time and money to see it. The reason is, you have done ll the heavy lifting on this one. The paradox is an interesting one, but in a film this ponderous and slow developing, I can ponder the question without seeing it. As you say, it is doubtful if that is the film makers intent, and while that is interesting, why subject oneself to all the other baggage. I appreciate the review, but with so little time and such a volume of films to see, it will probably be a future accident for me to view it. If that happens, I'll cheerfully go "oh yeah, I remember Andrew discussing this one" but it could easily be turned off in a commercial long before I got to that point.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Even worse, the bit about the paradox is interesting, but it's so unclear and so undeveloped that I doubt that was the intent. It's a fascinating idea if that was the intent, but it just isn't developed and you never get to see the consequences.

And since I found so much else in the movie to be plodding and cheating and just not interesting, I find that I have no desire to re-watch the film to see if there's more that I might have missed.

By comparison, I couldn't wait to watch Triangle again, even before the film ended.

AndrewPrice said...

As an aside, I discussed this film with tryanmax extensively before I wrote the review and he has a much more favorable view of the film, so this certainly is a film about which reasonable minds can differ.

shawn said...

Found the movie to be fairly predictable and it did not live up to all the hype heaped upon it by the rabble at Fark. I thought it was well made and the actors did a good job, but I didn't really care for it too much.

On the other hand, the director's has another movie which is an adult noir-ish tale that takes place in high school called Brick, and I would recommend that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I just watched Looper Monday and already I can't remember about 3/4 of it. You're right,it was full of holes and lazy writing.I was heartened to see that 2044 Kansas still had cornfields though. :)

tryanmax said...

Wow, I must have missed all the hype. Everything I heard beforehand was that this film was a dog. I dropped $1 on this at Redbox anyway b/c I figured bad sci-fi is like bad pizza. Then it turned out to be good pizza. (But what do I know? My favorite pizza is double-mushroom.) Anyway, as Andrew said, I have a completely different opinion.

1. In spite of the obvious signs of laziness elsewhere, I believe the paradox/non-paradox thing is intentional. (Joe and Bruce can alter their own futures, but Bruce's past can't be changed.) The reason being, that aspect is central to the mechanics of the story. It's the engine whereas the other stuff is the paint job and possibly the interior climate control. This was likely the idea that spawned the rest of the script, but the rest of the script didn't live up to the concept.

2. Much of the info attributed to the writer comes through characters that I don't believe we are meant to trust. From the get-go, Joe admits via V.O. that he is not a sound source of info. The first thing we get out of Future-Joe is essentially the same. (Not much progress for 30 years, eh?) Joe gets all his info from his associates who are deceptive, self-serving hitmen. Little comes from any of them except Jeff Daniels, his boss, who is from the future and isn't straightforward about anything except his own manipulativeness. The only character that seems honest is Joe's buddy Seth, and he's an idiot. That's not to say that the characters are always lying--but their explanations are more like political realities, if you get my gist.

3. I'll grant that the little brat comes off as Damian from the first frame in which he appears. They cast a horror-movie kid when they should've used a ragamuffin. Bad casting: it leads the audience down a road that it shouldn't. But putting the kid's looks aside, he has a clear, singular motivation: to protect his mother. Agreed, there is no concrete reason for the kid to have telekinetic powers other than to make him easy to identify. A birthmark would've sufficed. (As one critic put it: "Time-travel and telekinesis? Why not go for the trifecta and include aliens?") If you accept that this motivates the kid to grow up and take over the criminal underworld in order to exact revenge on the Loopers, and that absent that motivation he won't, then everything makes much more sense. There’s no reason to reject this except to be contrary. Well, that and the kid looks like Satan Jr.

4. This film throws most popular time-travel conventions aside--like the ever popular "you can't meet your past self" rule. However, this film does follow the "you can't actually change the past" rule, but it takes it to a much higher level (see #1). That works against the film when we bring in more established ideas about how time-travel is "supposed" to work. Which is really silly considering that, as far as we currently know, time-travel doesn't work at all. So a lot of what may be confusing is really just a different take on the mechanics of time-travel than we are used to.

5 & 6. If you like sci-fi that tells you exactly how everything works, this film will drive you nuts. It doesn't tell you a damned thing about how anything works. All we know is that there is time travel and that it operates in some screwy yet predictable ways. Past that, the characters all pretty much claim ignorance (see #2). I suppose you can take that as gloss, or you can take it as a realistic portrayal of a technical society. And if you like sci-fi that is flashy and techy, this film will disappoint you. It obviously didn't have a tremendous budget and the future-future is hardly shown. There is still no excuse for the flying motorcycle, though. That is pretty dumb.

rlaWTX said...

I wanted to see this one, but missed it... I still kinda do.

AndrewPrice said...

shawn, I don't regret watching it, but the more I thought about it, the less I liked it. And it definitely does not live up to the hype.

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, To me, the sign of a how good a movie is is how much I want to re-watch it, and this one fell into the category of me not wanting to re-watch it at all. I'll usually give any movie a second chance, but I had to force myself to watch this one again before I wrote the review and it just got worse on second viewing.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Well, let us know what you think if you do watch it. :)

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The critics praised the heck out of this and it scored all kinds of praise (and I think award) at film festivals and the such. But the public stayed away in droves.

More in a moment.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, In response...

1. You could be right. I personally doubt that this was the intent because I think the idea was both under-developed and un-exploited -- there was no pay off for the idea. In other words, even if we assume this was the point, they never do anything with it. There's no moment where you say, "ah ha, that's what that means!" Also, with the other mistakes, I'm inclined to see this as just another mistake.

But I can't say for certain that wasn't the intent. So it is definitely possible.

2. It's true that our narrator and the other characters are all unreliable. They keep telling us that they know nothing. What I think is interesting/troubling though, is in the cafe, Joe tries to speculate about the time paradox aspect and Bruce tells him not to even think about it because it's a waste of time and they'll spend the day drawing diagrams.

Given the other "Jedi mind trick moments," this strikes me as the movie again telling you, "Look, don't worry about it, just accept it and enjoy the movie... don't think about it!" And that makes it feels like more evidence that the time travel stuff isn't intentional... or at least isn't well thought and they don't want you to focus on it.

3. There's no reason to reject that this will cause him to grow up to decide to extract revenge on the loopers, but (1) I think the kid is clearly evil already and that unnecessarily muddies the water a lot for the idea that if they save his mother that she can make him good and change things, and (2)even if they stop the Rainmaker, the loop will still be closed in 30 years and Joe's wife will probably be killed. If the Rainmaker had at least closed the loops without waiting the full 30, then it might have made more sense. As it is, there's no reason to reject that this would change the rainmaker's future, but it's not clear what kind of change it would make and that makes the choice really cloudy for the audience.

4. Agreed, and that does set this film apart. By intent or accident, this film presents us with something we haven't seen done before.

5. I agree to a degree as I tend to like science fiction that doesn't tell you everything. But my beef here is that it still tells you too little. In science fiction, it's ok if the how is hazy so long as you get a clear "what is the result" or "what are the possible results." We don't really get that here. We have a hazy how and a hazy quasi-result.

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

You knew this was coming! The guy is way too snarky for his own good but I agree with #23.

And Rian Johnson wrote and directed a cool little high school noir titled Brick which I recommend. Unfortunately, he also directed a heist "comedy" titled The Brothers Bloom which I can not recommend.

As for this movie, I'll give it credit for ending in a place I wasn't expecting when it started. But yeah, I can't say I'm in a rush to see it again anytime soon.

Re: the movie feeling like it's in the future, that's one of those things I can forgive going into it. This movie didn't have a Spielberg budget and the technicians simply do what they can with the resources they have. No, it didn't look like Blade Runner but it looked better than some SyFy show (replete with overused "futuristic" Vancouver locations).

T-Rav said...

I haven't seen this movie, but I have read extensive discussions of it, including most of the points raised above.

Oh....where to begin. There are so many plot holes. Why would they have each "looper" kill his future self, instead of handing that future self off to another looper? How is it that the mob has control of time travel and no one else (i.e. the government) does? How is time travel now the most efficient way to get rid of a body? How...ugh.

It's a great idea in the abstract, but as is so often the case, the devil's in the details. (Speaking of which, isn't naming the kid who's going to turn evil or maybe already is evil "Damien" a little too on-the-nose?) I did like some of the more subtle stuff they did, though, like altering Gordon-Levitt's face just enough to make him a convincing younger version of Willis.

AndrewPrice said...


I did know that was coming, yes. LOL!

I give the movie credit for trying something different and for the possible cool idea about changing the future, but beyond that I didn't have a good impression of the film.

On the future stuff, my problem isn't so much that it didn't look like a strange new world, it's the choices they made. For example, why show vehicles from 2012 as if they are new... and then include one used way-out-of-place flying motorcycle? Why show normal, decent guns and then give the main characters incomprehensibly stupid guns? Why not make some minor change to the costuming to make things seem "different" rather than just calling attention to the fact they didn't? Heck, do what Babylon 5 did and buy shirts with those flat collars. That alone would have made it feel different without feeling too different.

The problem is, in my opinion, that the future stuff they did show stood out and felt wrong. Moreover, there was no need to even be in the future. Since they're time traveling back in time, why not just set the film in 2012. There wouldn't have been any difference to the film.

Patriot said...

Andrew......Saw this a while back, and to show you how impactful it was, I hadn't thought about it again until you reviewed it. Tells me the quality of writing, directing, plot, etc.

What I didn't get was, if the kid is so damn evil personified, why did he just take over the 'underworld' and not the whole 'overworld' as well?! Sorta like..."I have supreme now I can rob the corner deli and not get caught. Heh, heh, heh..."

I guess when we look at scifi, especially with time travel, we have too many unanswered questions if the movie's premise is around time travel. At least with the first known time travel story, The Time Machine, it was portrayed as realistic, so people accepted the premise. When they start throwing all this b.s. into a film where you sit there asking yourself..."what the heck was that and why was it in there?", it sorta destroys the film watching experience.

As I said before, you guys are great at finding things in movies that I would never have thought of, but in this one, I didn't want to even try to figure it out.

1 1/2 stars (1 just because Bruce Willis is in it)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Sorry, that was me being snarky -- I called him Damien. The kid's name in the film is Cid.

I agree with your points. I can understand why it might be difficult to get rid of a body, but how can it be THAT difficult that time travel is the better alternative? Dump the body in the middle of the ocean. Stage a "suicide". etc. Time travel seems like the last choice on the list. Still, I can forgive a little silliness, if that was the only odd part, but to me, the film was just too full of those kinds of head-scratching moments where you ask, "why don't they just....?"

As for the loopers killing themselves, I have no idea. It makes more sense to me to avoid the possibility of a problem and another looper do it. There may have been a reason related to the time loop stuff, but if there was, they never said it.

tryanmax said...

Here's a thought: If the Rainmaker was the one closing all the loops, then he is the one who sets up the scenario whereby his mom gets killed. In essence, he creates himself, which is a bigger paradox than any we've identified so far. This could just be the giant arrow pointing toward laziness.

On the other hand, what if Young Joe is actually preserving the timeline, rather than disrupting it. So the kid still grows up to be the Rainmaker, but on the plus side, the woman who would be Joe's future wife is saved. This fits with the theory that you can't change history, but you can change the future which, yes, implies that an Old Joe just pops out of nowhere in 2044. (It's a time-travel movie, there will be paradoxes.)

So the whole journey is basically for naught? Well, maybe not. For one, this is Young Joe's story, and he resolves it with an act of total selflessness. So he's a better man than Old Joe. But to what end? The kid still goes on to become the evil Rainmaker. Or does he? That picture of the Rainmaker was painted by mob hitmen. In fact, he's never called "evil" in the film. The closest is "holy-terror." Is it possible that he is a vigilante instead? Or maybe Young Joe did change the timeline, but it was more of a tweak than a complete rewrite.

Yeah, at this point I'm whitewashing a damaged script, but I'm no opponent of accidental genius.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, Willis helps any film. And normally, I like Gordon-Levitt, but he was kind of strange and unlikable in this one.

I do enjoy time travel stories a lot and I like the logic twisting aspects, but this one felt like it just missed the mark to me. I like the theory about you can change both futures -- that's a neat idea, but I don't think the film developed it enough. I also think the movie was handicapped with too many bad choices.

Great point about the all-powerful kid. In lots of ways, his story just doesn't make sense to me.

Ultimately, a movie is about enjoyment and I have to say that I just didn't enjoy this one.

tryanmax said...

As to why Loopers have to kill themselves, there are some elements within the movie that suggest this is a BS setup even within the universe of the film.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, LOL! I'm no opponent of accidental genius.

I'm not either, I just wish there was more to go on here. I think the idea you've created, particularly the loops within loops within loops, is a great one. And I love the idea of conflicting loops, with you hoping he breaks Loop A, only to discover that in so doing, he actually causes Bigger Loop A. That's wonderfully ironic, and it gives you this great idea of being trapped between two fates.

Unfortunately, I just don't see anything in the film which addresses this. It would have been great to see that exploited by having something like an extra flashback at the end to tell you what really happened or how things would really turn out, or even having someone like Jeff Daniels tell you, "You can't change the future, because you just create more loops." Something like that would have helped guide us in the direction of what to watch and contemplate. But we don't have that, so we just end up with kind of an unfocused mess.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, It would be interesting if the reason they need to kill themselves really is to "close the loop" or else somehow their future remains unwritten, but I'm not sure why that would be nor do I see that in the film. It strikes me that the reason they need to kill themselves is because it makes the plot more dramatic.

LL said...

I liked the movie. It had interesting twists, a fresh plot and I didn't look at my watch once while I viewed the film. It gets a thumb up from me.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, It did have a fresh plot, that is true. You never felt like, "Oh, I've seen this."

T-Rav said...

Andrew, oh. Well, that does explain a lot.

Yeah, haven't these mob guys ever heard of other ways to dispose of a body? You gangsters want to know how your ancestors solved this problem? It's called LYE! It'll chemically dissolve the body; they've been doing it for centuries. Put the body in the lye!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I know. There must be easier ways to get rid of a body.

On the one hand, I'm actually fine with them saying this was true and leaving it at that, but on the other it does make me wonder.

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

If you're still reading this...

When this film was first announced, I considered the title Looper and my first thought was, "They're doing a Caddyshack prequel?"

During his Dalai Lama speech, Bill Murray refers to himself as "a looper, you know, a caddy... a jock."

Caddyshack: Episode 1 - The Carl Spackler Story ultimately wasn't meant to be!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, LOL! You never know with movie titles. My biggest disappointment as a history buff was when "War of the Roses" turned out to be about a divorce.

Voz said...

I saw this in theaters when it came out...I enjoyed it as a popcorn flick...
On a different tack, I had found Firefox and Hamburger Hill in a 2 movie combo Blu-ray at walmart the other day and watched Firefox the other night...good movie. You've mentioned it several times and it really stood up well to time...the graphics were dated but I'm sure they were amazing at the time the movie came out. And the politics in the movie, such as the dialogue between Eastwood and the guy taking him to the airport and Eastwood and the scientists was spot on...

AndrewPrice said...

Voz, I saw Firefox again recently as well and I had the same reaction, the movie really held up well. It doesn't feel the least bit silly or even dated. And the politics are good too.

And you're right about the graphics. They aren't great by today's standards, but they are still good enough to be believable without knocking you out of the film.

I enjoy that film a good deal.

Mycroft said...

First, I'll play devil's advocate:
Silver and gold were sent back from the future since the currency would be worthless.
The 2012 cars did appear modified into some sort of hybrids. 2042 did have a societal breakdown feel to it and the area we see may have been hardest hit.
Joe's drug habit leads both current and future self to meet their love interests.
The TK is pointed out as pretty common though not at the kid's level. Though not stated, his TK ability is probably how he gained control of the mobs so quickly.
Despite my best efforts, that's about the only defense I can mount.

Mycroft said...

Now some more problems:
If they must use time travel, why don't the mobsters send the victims back and drop them into the middle of the ocean or a desert?
Since Joe always shoots the instant the victim appears, why didn't Bruce wait longer so that Joe would leave? Or at least turn around before the trip? Luckily Joe hesitated long enough for Bruce to turn his gold protected back to the blast.
After Bruce knocks Joe out, why didn't he leave the gold so that Joe could at least claim to have killed him? It appears that no one ever verifies the victim is dead before they're incinerated.
Since Bruce did take the gold, why did he go to Joe's apartment for the silver?
Since Joe kicks his drug habit at the farm, why would he ever meet Bruce's wife?
How did the mobsters dispose of the body of Bruce's wife?
What prevents Jeff Daniels from finding his younger self and coaching him into taking over the world?
The movie would have been better told from Bruce's viewpoint since his motivation drove the story. Of course, centering the story on Bruce Willis would make any movie better.

AndrewPrice said...

Mycroft, True.

It would seem that there has been some societal breakdown, which could explain why there aren't newer cars and why people are getting paid in silver and gold. The currency issue could be too.

On the TK stuff, the problem there is something I've learned over time as a writer. Writers have a tendency to add "bridges too far" to their stories, and this is one of those. It's absolutely not needed, it adds nothing to the store itself, and it isn't the focus of the story. So an experienced writer would realize this and take it out. Leaving it in only raises questions needlessly and refocuses the viewer away from the part of the story you want them to focus on.

AndrewPrice said...

Mycroft, Valid points. On the getting rid of Bruce's wife, the whole idea kind of makes no sense. Just because you can't get rid of a body doesn't mean you will get caught. So just be smarter about not leaving evidence.

I thought about that too with the ocean. Either dump them in the ocean in the future or in the past... clean, efficient, doesn't need a hit man.

On Bruce v. Joe in the field, the whole thing only works if you believe that Bruce messed up the timing just enough to stop Joe from shooting instantly and then Joe froze when he saw Bruce without a hood. But that's a pretty stupid risk by Bruce. Of course, it's possible that Bruce has no control over the machine, but then how does he delay the trip? I'm not sure on any of it but I was willing to buy that part of it as it seemed to be just one more thing among many I know required me just to believe.

On the drug habit, I thought it was bizarre that he could shake the drug habit with a good night's sleep and a little vomiting.

Mycroft said...

I think the most obvious problem is that no one verifies that the Loopers actually kill their victims.
Joe kills victim, recovers silver, dumps body into incinerator, then goes into the office to check in the silver. Somehow he manages to keep half of it and thinks no one will notice.
What's to keep a Looper from giving some pocket money to his victim, taking the silver and letting them go?
Answer: only the risk of having them turn up later.
Knowing that you'll be shooting yourself at some point should provide enough motivation to identify your victim and having an escape route planned for them.

AndrewPrice said...

Mycroft, I actually assumed they had some way to monitor it, or else the system is pretty hopelessly flawed. Besides, they knew pretty quickly that Seth hadn't killed his guy. So I assume that something tells them if the guy is still alive.

tryanmax said...

Mycroft, I've met too many people who will mindlessly follow any order given to really consider that a problem.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's true. But it would definitely make more sense if they monitored their loopers on the spot... for quality control purposes. :)

PikeBishop said...

Saw this on a cable channel yesterday and checked it out. As others have pointed out

1) Visualization of the "Kill Hitler as a child" theme. Yawn

2.) I though the TK thing was just tacked on as a character action Maguffin. Well something has to happen here and.....uh yeah.....this could happen. As the other critic mentioned above said "Time travel and TK? Puh-leez!" I had the same reaction. I'll take the former, but not the latter.

3) Like many contemporary films, everything is going along fine and then wham, the hokey, totally over-blown CGI scene, which looks really stupid and doesn't really fit the rest of the film.

4) And how could we forget another clichéd situation. How about the criminal genius who has a complete moron for a trusted lieutenant? Kid Blue makes Otis from the first Superman look like Steven Hawking!

AndrewPrice said...

Pike, I felt the same. The TK stuff in particular struck me as something they just tossed on there which doesn't really work with the rest of the story. And yeah, his assistant is a moron... as always.

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