If you could travel back in time to confront Hitler as a youth, would you kill him?
Would you be able to live with yourself for murdering an innocent child, simply because in our version of reality the little boy grows up to be a monster? What about the people who would most definitely try to stop you? Are they unwitting instigators of the Holocaust, or are they defending a child from the most horrible of monsters, a child killer?
These are some of the questions Looper tries to investigate. I won’t spoil the movie for you, but basically, Looper dares to ask (and delightfully fails to answer) any of those questions. It is good without being great.
In case you haven’t seen the previews, Looper is the story of Bruce Willis time traveling back to his younger self in an effort to set the world straight. His younger self is played by Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, who does his best throughout the movie to make classic Bruce Willis disgusted faces and say classic Bruce Willis things. His attempts at recreating a young Bruce Willis are noble…but not very believable.
Gordon-Leavitt has an interesting career. He is a huge talent, a great actor, and yet I feel ho-hum toward his acting. Why is that? Maybe it’s the curse of the child actor. I watch him acting like a complex adult and talking tough and saying swears, but all I see is the doofy kid waving his arms to let Danny Glover know there were angels in the outfield (sorry, I know 3rd Rock from the Sun should be the go to reference here, but I like the reminder that there was once a movie where angels helped decide the outcome of baseball games).
Back to the movie. Looper is entertaining. It does a good job of stating the facts about time travel without trying to confuse the audience. It’s a smart move. Most movie audiences are as stupid as I am, and all we understand of wormholes, time travel, and the space-time continuum we learned from Marty and Doc. Looper tells us, “Look, time travel is possible for the sake of this story, and we aren’t going to trot out Stephen Hawking to try to validate the science behind it.” It is refreshing and helps the movie suspend disbelief.
No spoilers, but I’ll recommend you see it. It takes you to places I didn’t expect from the trailers, and the movie ends in a way that seems both startling and inevitable. Bruce Willis does his usual thing of being unimpressed with analytics and sort of punching his way through tough situations.
If you go expecting a highly intelligent exploration of the concepts and theories behind time travel, eh, you’ll probably be able to poke holes in the plot and leave with more questions than answers. However, if you want the rare movie that at least tries out an original take on an old genre, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Oh, and for me, the answer is I’d let little Hitler live. But not before I take his eyes. Does that make me a monster? I mean, you can’t hate the Jews you can’t see, right? Don’t judge me, he’ll still be successful, just more inspiring and less hate mongering. I mean, it’s like Helen Keller once said, “ojnwrefjnweAOU v;’/ohfei8owrf ;LJFOPWIEFHNn sdkjfnkjnrfuj.”