Sunday, January 27, 2013

Looper * * *

Roughly 80 years from now, time travel will be invented, but it will illegal.  Around the same time it will be nearly impossible to get away with murder, so organized crime will use time travel to send people 30 years back in time where they have henchmen waiting to murder the people they send back.  As part of the deal, if the henchmen live another 30 years, they get sent back to be killed by their younger selves.  It sounds like a rotten deal, so who would strike such a bargain?  Junkies who don't care too much about the future but do care about getting paid.  However, a couple of the future-selves escape which puts their present-selves at risk.  This leads to a mob manhunt where both the future-selves and the present-selves are on the run.

Like many movies, the future is not very pleasant.  Society has degraded.  Human life seems to be cheap and the characters have few qualms about killing people.  The main character realizes that things are only going to get worse as time goes on, so he decides to change the future.  Could a film like this also be telling us that we need to change the future or else face similar misery?

The main character takes refuge on a farm where he meets a cute little boy who is likely some future evil mob boss.  This gets into the kind of question of would you kill Hitler if you could go back in time?  The movie teases us with the notion that the boy is evil without making it totally clear.  The film left me with the impression that certain people were going to have to die who I did not want to see die.  Fortunately, the film ends with a twist that turns everything on its head.

It is such an odd premise, but it works because the characters believe it.  I find myself wondering, however, if you have a time machine and you want to get rid of someone, why not send them a million years into the future?  Maybe there is a possibility that they would come back?

I thought that I understood the rules by which Time Travel movies work, but recently those rules seem to be changing.  Movies and TV shows have gotten more inventive in how they portray time travel, and the notion of a Time Travel Paradox seems to not really matter anymore.

One problem with watching any movie is that you have to wonder if it is worth 2 hours of your time?   A movie that is too grim leaves me feeling down and not very entertained.   Fortunately, Looper ends on such a  positive note that all its dystopian death and destruction becomes tolerable.  The fact that the time travel plot so thoroughly messes with your mind is a good thing, although I suspect that some people might not like it.  Throw in some great action sequences and you end up with a pretty decent movie that is still maybe not perfect.

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