What is it about time travel that is so hypnotic, magnetic, romantic? The possibility of rectifying past errors? Reclaiming the “one who got away”? Or just the supernatural, infallible power of “knowing”, and possibly “altering” destiny?
Time travel has been a pervasive genre, informing contemporary film and literature: “Time After Time”, “Terminator”, “Donnie Darko”, “Groundhog Day” (crippling, anesthetizing redundancy), “Back to the Future”; Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife” (also a movie) and most recently Robert Koppel’s “The Next Step: A Gobsmacking Odyssey of Reinvention”, tempting, teasing versions of mind and body tackling and overcoming matter.
Many owe a debt to Chris Marker (1921-2012) an iconic French writer and filmmaker, forerunner in imagining the unimaginable; “La Jette” (The Pier, 1962) is a 28 minute black and white film, comprised of stills, ending with the protagonist visioning his demise; this brilliant film inspired Terry Gilliam’s 1995, “12 Monkeys” and was a monumental influence on Rian Johnson’s “Loopers”.
“Loopers” should appeal to a wide audience, even those who are not science- fiction aficionados; erudite, fascinating, riveting, a mind-bending, enthralling experience. “Joe” played simultaneously by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis (“Old Joe”). The year is 2044 and the world is controlled by organized crime; time travel is invented in 2074; those who the “Boss” (Jeff Daniels, gives a creepy, malevolent performance as “Abe”) wants eliminated, are sent back from the future to be slaughtered and incinerated by “loopers”. Young Joe must complete his loop by killing his older self.
“Loopers” soars with scintillating performances by Gordon-Levitt and Willis. Because of the dazzling craftsmanship of the makeup artists, Gordon-Levitt is miraculously transformed into a young Bruce Willis; his superb capturing of every nuance, grimace, strut, erases any question that the young and older man are one in the same. Bruce Willis chisels another notch on his scale of memorable movie moments.
Emily Blunt gives a solid depiction of a tough, savvy, farm girl, “Sara”, the mother of “Cid” (an assiduously astounding performance by five-year-old Pierce Gagnon)!
“Loopers” will trigger a myriad of “movie conversations”, but more than anything it bounces from the past to present with roller-coaster, exhilarating ease, culminating in an intriguing, questioning conclusion. “Loopers” has cemented a firm position in the rarefied, archival echelons of time travel flicks.