Dear Looper (Rick’s Take),
When the multiplex meat grinder that Hollywood is these days hints at something unique or unusual it is hard for this grizzled SciFi-loving film nut not to get excited. But just like Joseph Gordon-Levitt channeling a convincing Bruce Willis in the face of the all powerful crime boss Abe, I was going to play this one cool.
So when this story opens on Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) doing what he does and collecting his pay, it is instantly apparent that this film is indeed something unique. With the here and now set a just thirty years hence, the director Rian Johnson sets a believable near future that has just the right amount of degradation, future tech and familiar human poverty. As Joe goes through his drug-hazed days of living, looping, and partying, I get a sense of this job and also what happens when their contract is cancelled. As the mob in 2072 starts sending back cancelled contract after cancelled contract, Loopers get nervous.
I mean hell, at least you know when you’re going to die in the future, not that most of them care. Perhaps knowing makes the living in the here and now all the sweeter in some way, but I doubt it. As they say, life gets more precious when there is less of it to live.
Then the day comes for Joe that the time lag on a hit delivery goes past the exact moment and the man that shows up is unhooded. The pause by Joe costs him the kill and sets everything else in motion. Bruce Willis is his usual awesome self as the Old Joe, and when it’s apparent that he is here and escaped for a reason, the story takes one of its many twists. As Old Joe looks something up at the local library I realize I am so thoroughly sucked into the proceedings that I only have eyes for the story and the indelible characters. When the iconic meeting between Joes comes, the encounter is riveting and reminds me that not only are the characters vibrant, they live and breathe as cornered humans making their last stand for what they believe in and matters most to them. Even the scary little boy Cid, played by Pierce Gagnon, does what he must!
Emily Blunt as the protective tigress-mother is a force to be reckoned with and her empathy saves lives, young Joe’s more than once, We start to see Joe’s humanity and when his insight allows him to see what he needs to see that brings resolution in the end, in that final brilliant twist, my heart sinks for a moment and then rises above via the tears she cries, in that final intimate moment.
Sure the future is unwritten, like perhaps in Terminator, but part of me believes too that this future can be much brighter and so as I ponder its implications with a small smile of hope, there is a realization that you are something special. I thank you for that. It’s the second film in so short a time to reach out a hand and lift me up, that I may not be able to discount Hollywood as much as I have in the past.
We will see each other again and though it may be bittersweet like life itself, I will treasure it anyway and eagerly do it again and again, for you will be a dear dear friend of mine.
With Adoration Always,