Posted on 10/14/12 12:40 AM
Right now, my favorite movie of 2012 is LOOPER (Rian Johnson, 2012), which takes place in our future, where time travel exists, but is illegal, so criminals are the only people that really use it. They recruit young men to execute people sent back in time to their present, and then pay them big in gold so they get rich and retire early. This allows these men to live lavish adult lives until the day they themselves get sent back in time to execute themselves, thus "closing the loop" created by having them go back in time in the first place (or in this case, the last place). It's a good system, I suppose, until naturally, one guy (Joseph Gordon Levitt)'s future self (Bruce Willis) escapes his execution, and endeavors to change time by killing his employer while he's still a child, thus ending this practice and allowing the future self to keep the life he's created. Present self, however, is already in a lot of trouble with the boss, so he really can't allow future self to do that. Sounds sloppy as Hell, I know, and begs the obvious questions of why anybody would sign up for this, and how does Willis's character know that he would keep the life he created in the time stream we know if he changes it? And yet, I still really dug the Hell out of this movie.
Look, on the plus side, it's a movie with compelling characters, good acting, and an interesting dilemma. It also has a decent explanation of how time travel works in the traveler's mind. And while the premise of the film has glaring flaws, the execution of it does not. When I walke out of LOOPER, before I got the chance to really think about it, I saw it as a successor to THE TERMINATOR (James Cameron, 1984), because it has a similar time travel based storyline and paradoxical ending. I liked the love story that develops in the middle of it, and the no nonsense way Johnson deals with that. I like how they foreshadow the reveal at the end early on and pay it off nicely. It's one of the few films where you will actually catch me saying, "so what if a lot of the details don't make sense?" INCEPTION (Christopher Nolan, 2010) didn't really have very likeable characters, besides Ellen Page's, and I honestly don't remember why she was there. It leaned too heavily on its confusing setup, and frankly, Tarsem Singh shot the dream imagery in THE CELL (2000) better than Nolan did. But LOOPER, questionable story and all, is a lot more fun than either of those films, and once I got past the slower first act, I dug it. B-.