My take on…Looper

My take on…Looper

I love a good time travel story, and even some not so good ones. 🙂

While there can be fun in the simple anachronisms of it (say, The Final Countdown or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court), I especially like it when someone thinks through the twists and turns (Back to the Future is a great example).

Looper, directed and written by Rian Johnson, brings you both an adventure movie, and a thoughtful one.

I think you could largely kick back and just enjoy it, but if you are like me and find your mind trying to work through the possibilities of a movie as they unfold, this movie will also satisfy you.

I often say my favorite thing in entertainment is to be surprised, and Looper accomplishes that.

Johnson also gives me a case study to use in explaining how you can tell what good directing is.

One of the things is consistency in the performances. Is everybody on the same level, going for the same feel? That’s directing. We’ve all seen movies where somebody’s performance is out of place, and that’s not happening here.

There are several strong performances (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, and especially five-year old Pierce Gagnon), but no scene stealing star turns. Everybody’s performance is geared towards supporting the story…and again, the director gets credit for that. The individual actors can’t always have the big picture, and may not know what the real tone is: the director does.

That unity does not just happen with the actors, but with the staging…even though things take place in several times, nothing jars.

Another sign of good directing? Pacing. In many movies, you find yourself in slow patches, and that didn’t happen for me or for my Significant Other here.

In terms of a movie being good, one thing for me is if I find myself spontaneously thinking about it afterwards. That’s certainly happened here. I’m very careful about spoilers, so I’ll just say that there is one particular scene which is both unpleasant and intellectually cool that may haunt you. You’ll know which one afterwards. 🙂

Is it a perfect movie? No, but it’s a good movie, and really original. I’ll be looking for other things from Rian Johnson in the future (and, um, in the past? My timeline may still be confused). 😉

I also want to mention that this is a success for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Not only does this (along with The Dark Knight Rises) put JGL on our 2012 Most Valuable Players list, but the actor was also an Executive Producer on it. Even though it’s not a blockbuster, with a reported budget of $30 million, and dogro (domestic gross) of $63 million (and more than $130 million worldwide), it’s a solid moneymaker.

You may have to seek it out a bit, but I recommend it. Don’t expect it to be your favorite movie ever, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

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