Looper Blu-ray Review

It’s funny how our past shapes our future.

Take Joe for instance.

He lives in the year 2044 where it turns out the future’s not nearly as bright as hollywood usually predicts.

Instead of a shining, technologically advanced super-city straight out of some scientist’s wet dream, we’re greeted by signs of a decaying civilisation that’s falling apart where survival is all most regular Joe’s can hope for.

Set against this, our irregular Joe along with his fancy car and apartment block comes across as some sort of shining light.

Abandoned by his mother as a child, Joe grew up making ends meet on the streets as a petty thief ‘til a mob boss sent back from the future took him under his wing and hired him as a looper.

That’s right, the future.

And a looper is someone who kills people who’re also from the future, which sounds a little confusing.

Because it is.

Thirty years from now, and by now I mean 2044, time travel is invented and just as quickly outlawed as the consequences of changing earth’s past are deemed far too dangerous to meddle with.

Of course, this doesn’t stop mob bosses from taking advantage of this as a very modern way of sending people they don’t like to sleep with the fishes.

There is a snag though; this embryonic form of time travel can only send a person back on a one way journey some thirty years into the past.

Which is how the mob boss from the future ended up back in 2044, and also where Joe and his fellow loopers come in; you see, it’s a looper’s job to dispose of whatever hogtied and hooded souls the mob send back in time.

Which makes Joe’s sort of role model tag shine a little less brightly now.

Being a looper’s not much of a career path either, as it’s just a matter of time until your future self is sent back in time for you to kill.

Still, Joe’s got a more of a plan than most of his peers, so he carries on murdering who he’s told, when he’s told while saving up for his imminent retirement.

That is until the day Joe finds himself face to face with his future, as well as his past.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, who once again teams up with his favourite acting muse and predictably excellent Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, Looper was undoubtedly the best action film of last year.

Even with its inevitable time travel inconsistencies, Johnson’s whip smart sci-fi thriller easily surpassed much bigger budgets blown on blockbusters like The Hunger Games and The Dark Knight Rises thanks to its originality, sharp script and proper acting.

Though it’s a rum state of affairs when these three things aren’t the norm for new movie.

Having enjoyed Looper the first time around, it’s even better on the bounce as you’ve more time to take in the oft complex machinations that Johnson’s brilliant mind has conjured in this genre blurring film.

There’s plenty of great new extras about the making of Looper to be had too, most impressive of which is the featurette on how Nathan Johnson created the found sound score for his cousin’s film.

Sound is one of those funny things in cinema where, more often than not, the better it is the less you notice how big a part it plays in creating how a film feels.

And Johnson junior’s innovative and technically incredible score definitely fits this bill, seamlessly acting as the perfect audio accompaniment for Looper so that I barely thought about, until watching the lengths Nathan went to in creating this element.

Other blu-ray extras worthy of some repeat viewings are the twenty odd deleted scenes that help flesh out the bones of Looper, which sometimes moves along just a little too quickly for its own good.

The fascinating thing for me was how much feedback from early screenings played a part in Rian Johnson’s final edit of Looper, with a healthy amount of exposition cut from the first act simply because it didn’t get you to the action quick enough.

Maybe these are the people who should be sent back in time and shot.

Commercial demands already play an unhealthy role in deciding which movies get made, and which don’t, so the idea that some random yahoos get to decide whether a film’s too slow for them, and therefore me, is enough to make me build my own time machine so I can add a few more folk to Joe’s hit list.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

January 2013