Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fantastic Fest 2012 Review: LOOPER- He Said/She Said

Directed by: Rian Johnson
Written by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Piper Perabo
Synopsis: A Looper, an assassin that murders people from the future for the mob, has to fight his future self while running from his employers. 

Jonesy: I was nervous for this film to come out because I enjoy Rian Johnson as a director and as a fellow movie lover. It worried me because not only is this a sci-fi movie, it’s also time travel, and that is one of those aspects that can be very easy to mess up and can kill a movie. It's a brave thing to write about because you know that there are going to be nerds out there on the Internet that are going to pick it apart and call it inconsistent. With that being said, I really thought it was well done. It’s amazing to me to see him direct all different genres, and all of them are done well.

Javi: I think that this movie is tied, if not surpassing, BRICK as my favorite of his films. And maybe I’m thinking of the THE BROTHERS BLOOM simplistically, but I think that LOOPER just had a lot more to say about its themes. I truly think that there will be some great essays that will come out of this movie. I like the fact that time travel was a tool, but it was not the focus of the story. It just helps set up this world and the plot, and then other aspects of the story come into focus. The movie eventually explores this theme of “fate vs. free will." With most of the time travel movies, like La Jette/12 MONKEYS, the movie deals with the fact that by trying to change the past to save the future, but the main character actually ends up creating the messed up future. That feeling of hopelessness and the fact it seems that every time travel story deals with the idea that we were always meant to do what we were meant to really bum me out. I enjoy this movie’s fresh take on the subject. In LOOPER, every present is one of the many possibilities that can possibly happen. And just to give them praise, I really enjoyed the editing of the movie, and the way that it was sequenced. There is a point where we see Joe’s (Gordon-Levitt's) life 30 years into the future through various sequences. And it really reminded of the intro for UP in the way that it told so much of a story without any dialogue. Not only that, but the pacing of the movie felt tight to where there never felt like there was any down time.

Jonesy: For me, I really like how Rian Johnson’s style of directing is solid for just about any genre. In this particular movie, he does a lot of panning and a lot of random close up like of a cup of coffee with cream swirling in it. If anything, his style of directing in this movie reminds me more of his episodes of BREAKING BAD than his actual movies. I like how he follows a character in a way that keeps you engaged with the character’s movements.

Javi: I agree, and I’m glad that there’s plenty of good humor sprinkled throughout. The line “trust me kid, go to China” is hilarious within the context of the movie. Moving on to talk about the story specifically, what did you think?

Jonesy: The story was a cool concept as to how and why this universe used time travel. However, one of the things that I don’t like about time travel movies is that I understand them whenever I am watching them. But then when I start to think about after the fact or start talking about the minor details  to other people, I start seeing inconsistencies. That does happen a little with this film. If you start trying to trace the plot line, you’ll start feeling a little crazy. I really can’t wait to see how other people dissect this movie. Hopefully there is an info graph explaining the story somewhere

Javi: Why would you need it?

Jonesy: We were just talking earlier about how you never quite know where the movie’s plot actually began.

Javi: Yeah, I meant it like with the Terminator films where the future depicted in the movies occurs because of the past even though the past depends on the future to occur. (Talking about Kyle Reese's role in the first movie.) 

Jonesy: I really enjoyed the world that Rian built. I like the fact that even though it is in the future, it didn’t feel overly futuristic. The phones, motorcycles and other bits and pieces were futuristic, but even though this is set around the year 2040, people still have trucks.

Javi: I can get behind that. I will be quoting the all-mighty Tim League, I enjoyed some of the weird details like the widespread use of solar panels to the fueling system of the vehicles. I quite enjoyed that bit of world building where you are meant to infer how we got to this point. Also, I enjoyed that apart from the premise, there’s not TOO much exposition. Though it is awkward how Joe’s narration starts at the beginning of the movie, drops, and then picks up more towards the end of the movie.

Jonesy: He’s there solely to define things.  Like his voice jumps in randomly to explain what “closing the loop” means to the audience. If you think about it, even though it's a high concept movie, there seems to be a good focus on the characters and their decisions.

Javi: Kind of how I said that time travel was just a tool to tell the story, yet it wasn’t the focus.

Jonesy: I enjoyed that there was never too much of a technical explanation as to how the heck time travel came about or the technicality of the machine.

Javi: The machine cracked me up because I got such a PRIMER vibe from it.

Jonesy: You never knew how it can send people to specific places or when and why time travel was invented and subsequently outlawed. I know we’ll never know all of the answers, but they’re fun questions to ask. Moving onto characters, your boy JGL felt completely unrecognizable as his character, Joe. I know that there was prosthetics and contacts to alter his looks, but his performance just astounded me. He’s not his goofy TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU character or the sharply dressed dude from INCEPTION.

Javi: I enjoyed how the movie was a little morally ambiguous up until a certain point. When you learn what Older Joe's (Bruce Willis) motivation and mission was, you kind of end up rooting for both of them. Though there was a certain point in the movie where question Older Joe's (or OJ for the rest of the review) morality, but even at the end I still kind of wanted him to win. I really enjoyed the dynamic between both of the Joes. I wonder what would happen if an older version of yourself would be able to talk to your younger version.  It’s kind of interesting to see yourself mess up in real life.

Jonesy: I like that they were both really stubborn in their own ways. Younger Joe (YJ ) keeps on saying that he has to kill OJ because it’s YJ's life and therefore his destiny. And OJ is the same way except all he cares about was his mission.

Javi: It’s funny because YJ was accused by OJ for being a selfish dick. And you’re right in that they’re both equally stubborn, except that OJ was selfish in the fact that he wants to prevent his tragic future from happening because he doesn't want his loved ones getting hurt. Though it seems that he only wants to save them for very selfish reasons.  And side note, Emily Blunt (Sara) is perfect even with blond hair and a terrible southern accent of some sort. I know you disagree, but I found her character to be filled nuances about her. You can tell a lot about her character in the way that she acts around Joe and her boy Cid. And once you figure out her back story, it brings her performance to a higher level.

Jonesy: I just never felt like her character just wasn’t given much to do, and unfortunately she was not as developed as the others. I will say that the Jeff Daniels character was completely wasted and disappointing. That was my biggest complaint from the character aspect. I did enjoy Paul Dano for the little bit that he was in the movie. As a digression, I wonder how JGL and Bruce Willis learned how to play one another. They just did such a great job that I wonder if they did the FOREST GUMP technique of having one of them say some lines and have the other repeat them in order to act like the first. How do you think that this movie is going to do?

Javi: I think that this will be the highest grossing movie of Rian’s career, and it might have a chance to take the top spot of the movie. But I’m just not sure; maybe JGL could bring in the crowd.

Jonesy: I really do believe that there would be enough interest out there since people loved INCEPTION, and this is equally high concept, and INCEPTION did well.

Javi: Once again, more than any movie that's not called I DECLARE WAR coming out of Fantastic Fest, this was a movie that I want so see do well. Not only is it smart and deserving of repeated viewings, but the actors all bring their A-game. You can either try to find lots of meaning into what the story is trying to say, or you can just take it as Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt shooting at each other.  Rian Johnson is ready to be a bigger player in the world of Hollywood, and I can't wait to see what he does next.

Jonesy: I totally agree. This film will push Rian Johnson more into the main stream movie world, and with the hopeful success, he will be able to pursue almost any project he wants. I just wish he made more than one movie every five years. 

No comments:

Post a Comment