We are excited to bring on board our new regular guest blogger movie reviewer Jonathan Cardwell. We love his movie reviews and hopefully you’ll love his contribution to Belfast Times. Welcome on board Jonathan!!
The third film from writer/director Rian Johnson is a twisty turny, timey wimey sci-fi caper, which is quite difficult to describe. But here goes: It’s 2044 and Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper, a hit man for the mob, but not an ordinary one. You see, as the opening narration tells us, in the future time travel is possible, but outlawed and only criminal organisations use it. When the mob wants someone dead, they send them from 2074 back to 2044, Joe kills them and disposes of a body which ‘technically never existed.’ However, the mob eventually severs ties with these Loopers and sends the older version back to be killed by his younger self. Unfortunately when Old Joe gets sent back, being Bruce Willis, he escapes.
And that’s about as much as I’m willing to tell you plot wise, because to say anything further would spoil the film. What I will say is at least in the first hour the film very successfully establishes the world of the future, and well as the time travel mechanics. This is a world where if it so happens that two versions of yourself are in the same year, the younger self can carve a message into his own arm, so that it’ll appear as a scar on you older self. The film plays with this notion in an even more gruesome fashion later on as well. Let’s just say, escaping is hard when your legs suddenly aren’t there anymore.
However, the second half of the films suddenly slows to a snail’s pace as we spend most of it on a farm, following a not very interesting story about a mother and a child who may or may not become someone horrible in the future. It’s a shame because the set up is so good that it feels as though it should be used on a better story than simply a rehash of 1984’s The Terminator. And if you’re versed in any sort of time travel theories and/or films you’ll see the ending coming from a mile off, which sort of spoils it a bit.
But there is a lot of fun to be had with this film. Bruce Willis is the best he’s been since Sin City, Joseph Gordon Levitt is wholly convincing as a younger version of Bruce, even if the prosthetics used to make him more Willis-esque are distracting from time to time, and there’s a few scenes we see from different perspectives given that at certain points Old Joe is after Young Joe and vice versa. And there’s a certain moment a lesser film would have chickened out of, so kudos to the makers for keeping it in.
But overall, it’s not this decade’s Matrix as some have been calling it. It’s not as good a time travel film as The Terminator or 12 Monkeys. But go and see for yourself. I can’t really do a full spoiler filled review as that…er, spoils much of the surprises which are kind of the point of this film.
It’s good, but not great.