Looper: sometimes, it’s just better to suspend disbelief

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Sometime far in the future, in a world where telekinesis has manifested itself amongst the population through a genetic mutation, technology has progressed to the point where all people are tracked, which makes it difficult for them to disappear. With the invention of time travel, the mob of that time solves this conundrum sending its targets backwards into the past. There, hooded and bound, they are killed by young hired guns whose reward is the silver strapped to their backs. These young men are known as loopers, for their own older selves are eventually sent back to be killed, for a final golden payday before they are free to live out the rest of their lives as they wish.

Joe is one such young man, though also one who dreams of a more cultured and meaningful life for himself after retirement. But then comes the day when his future returns to haunt his present life…

There were many questions passing through my mind when I walked out of the cinema after viewing Rian Johnson’s film. What ifs, and hows in particular. The usual questions of how an event that is dependent on a particular cause can take place if that cause is removed in the first place.

But that’s the one question that will come up in most films that tackle time travel, if only because it is the most interesting theoretical problem of this particular area of sci-fi. And whilst it is an interesting question, the strength of Looper lies somewhere else: in the heart of its characters.

What we find in this film are not strangers with weird powers. We find a young man working for a dream and striving at the same time to overcome his own weaknesses, an older man who wants to protect the love of his life, a young mother struggling to love a gifted and troubled child, and a young boy yearning for a normal, happy family. Whilst there are some unusual circumstances, the emotions and desires of each of these individuals are still purely human, making them people that we can empathise with, people that we see in ourselves and those around us. Thus, we find ourselves investing in the journeys they take, and acknowledging the choices, sacrifices and beliefs that inform their lives.

In other words, whilst Looper once again draws from into the paradoxical and arguably unbelievable theories of time travel, at its heart is a story about what makes us what we are. And that’s why, even though it did not knock me off my feet, this film will nevertheless stay with me for a while.

About karice
MAG fan, amateur translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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