In the not too distant future time travel is reality and is used by the mob to dispose of someone who gets in their way. The send them back 30 years where a looper is waiting for them to take them out, leaving no evidence in the victim’s present and the murder untraceable. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a looper and knows at any time the boss could “close his loop”, meaning they would send his future self for him to kill in exchange for a large payoff. However, his future self (Bruce Willis) has other plans and intends to change the future and save his wife by killing her murderer as a child.
A lot of surprises for me here. Going by the trailer, I thought the drama stemmed from Gordon-Levitt discovering he had to kill his future self, but he was quite prepare for that. Didn’t know Emily Blunt was even in this, as she plays the mother of the child Willis must kill. Kudos on the American accent, Miss Blunt. Sometimes when a plot is not what I expected, I’m disappointed, but Looper had a lot more meat than I was anticipating.
With any film that takes place in the future, there’s a lot of world building exposition, and Looper is no exception. The first twenty minutes or so, you’re bombarded with a lot of information and key slang (like blunderbuss and TK) but everything has their place and importance. The future present here is a dirty and dangerous one, much like the world of Blade Runner. Gordon-Levitt’s Joe sleeps with prostitutes (or at least one prostitute), does drugs, and has a posing little weasel for a best friend (played by Paul Dano who seems to specialize in weaklings). While watching this film, I realized that Gordon-Levitt plays a lot of lonely guys, someone give the guy a hug!
2012 was a pretty strong year for kid performances and newcomer Pierce Gagnon is terrifying as Cid. I never wanted to see a kid get shot so much. He just is such a creepy little guy and while, yes, his mother loves him and sometimes he can look cute, but no good can come of him being allowed to reach adulthood.
One thing that bugged me was the excessive use of lens flairs. Once the action moved to the country, they calmed down, but early on it was driving me to distraction. I know people who hate on the use of shaky cam, but I find excessive lens flair way more obnoxious.
This was a strong year for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and I give the guy a lot of credit, he’s becoming a star on his own terms. You can always tell what drew him to the project and he isn’t doing stuff for the paycheck. I look forward to more interesting choice from him in the future.
When Tom and Violet get engaged after only dating a year, some worry they are rushing into things, but a series of unexpected life changes delay the big day five years. When Violet (Emily Blunt) gets accepted to PHD program in another part of the country, Tom (Jason Segal) agrees to quit his job as a sous chef at a hot restaurant to help her follow her dream, however, Michigan is an odd fit for Tom. While Violet is the star student in her group and her contract extended, the best job Tom can find is in a sandwich shop and he slips deeper and deeper into depression. The two patiently await the perfect time for their wedding, but eventually learn that there’s never a perfect time for anything and sometimes you just have to pick a cookie and eat it, but more on that later.
One thing I like about Jason Segal’s writing is that there’s something refreshing untrained about it. His scripts are sprinkled with specifics that you know must have been inspired by moments of his life. He also is more than willing to “go there”, he’s never afraid to appear nude or perform a revealing sex scene. There are also a lot of familiar faces in his films. He clearly puts thought into who he wants to spend his time with when filming. I feel like more than the vast majority of actors, you get to know Jason Segal as a person when you watch his work.
Early in the movie, Hubby pointed out that all their troubles could have been easily been avoided. Their biggest problem is that Tom had to give up his culinary career so Violet could further her studies and continue on the road towards becoming a professor. Michigan is not know more its culinary scene but its cost of living is extremely low, so Hubby said Tom should have tried to start his own business, and then later in the movie, Tom does start his own business after he moves back to San Francisco and agrees to relocate the business to Michigan to be with Violet again. The whole movie could have been avoided if they had just thought of that of when they first moved! It makes the rest of the film a little tiresome being based on such a flimsy conflict.
In the end, the message seemed to be you can’t wait for that moment for when everything is perfect. This is highlighted by the relationship between Violet’s sister Suzie (Alison Brie) and Tom’s best friend Alex (Chris Pratt). The two hook-up at Tom and Violet’s engagement party and quickly marry when Suzie discovers she’s pregnant. The two repeatedly throw caution to the wind and build a relatively happy little family for themselves. Brie and Pratt are a lot of fun and hopefully in the next year or two they’ll be able to be the leads in romantic comedies. However, Brie’s British accent is a tad distractingly bad but hearing her and Blunt fight as Elmo and Cookie Monster is a classic sister moment.
While The Five-Year Engagement isn’t a classic it is a cute date night movie with a lot of familiar faces.