Looper

“Bruce Willis is apparently only capable of playing Bruce Willis at this point, therefore Joseph Gordon Levitt has to do his best to play Bruce Willis and this he does extremely well.”

Last week I was comparing thrillers to jokes and well, this week, it’s science fiction and more rambling and aimless comparisons. This time it’s jokes and people who are either incapable of understanding them, or just want to be downright cunts about it.

A while ago I met a young lad of about 10, I’m guessing 10 as I can’t tell the age of children. 0-2 is when women go weak at the knees when they see one, 2-15 is when they’re just bastards to everyone and take the piss out of and or yank your beard. By the way yes a man with a beard is allowed to talk to children, no I don’t have to report any contact with them to the police. I am not a registered sex offender and yes I do like kids. I mean not like kids, I mean, forget it. There really is no way of talking about kids and not seeming like a paedo is there? I heard recently that there is a scale against which child porn is graded – it’s called Copine scale and it was invented in Cork apparently. Level one is probably watching footage of your own children at this fucking rate. Owning a computer and having a beard is level 3 even if you can’t actually access the internet. Should you have a beard and need glasses it raises to amber level 4 alert. Should you turn on said computer a small paedo prevention raven actually flies in and sits above your chamber door to discourage you from looking up Angy Diaz or Dakota Fanning (and while we’re on the subject did anyone else think that the substance that Justin Bieber threw up on stage looked an awful lot like semen? I can only speculate that that semen was that of lady-beating-shit-head Chris Brown while I await DNA results in the post). Anyway I was talking to the most polite 10 year old child I’ve ever encountered and I decided to tell him a joke. The joke was something about a donkey. Not the one where the guy smashes the donkey’s balls with bricks mind, that would be level 7 or 8 probably. I think talking to a child without a lawyer present is graded as 0.5 and if it’s your own child it’s still 0.3 rising to 0.7 depending on how you are dressed at the time. Oh and by the way what’s this I hear about no smoking signs in playgrounds? Where are 8 year olds supposed to smoke now that they can’t do it in the back of the bookies while their Da loses the college fund on Joanna Newsome in the 3:30 at Chepstow? Anyway the joke went down much as this review is, not well. He just looked blankly at me and said “that was silly, why did the donkey do that?” It was at this moment I was told by his mother that the child has Aspergers syndrome. And thusly cannot really get jokes. So yes kid, the donkey was just silly and I am the idiot for finding it funny.

And that’s fine

However, people who are capable (is capable the word I’m looking for here?) of getting silly, juvenile, crass, puerile and yes even filthy, edgy jokes but just think they’re beneath them and so tut and raise there eyes to heaven in a contempt – they are not fine. These people should be boiled in piss for eternity. “That’s juvenile” they say. Yes, I said do you want to hear a joke? Not do you want me to recite a fucking sonnet, what the fuck did you expect? High fucking art? A post modern deconstruction of the joke itself? The guy with two dicks and diarrhoea used his wife scabby hatchet wound as a toilet…that’s fucking funny you snobby cunt.

This is what I feel about science fiction.

It tires me out when people point out the plot holes in science fiction. It bores me to fucking tears when someone points out that a premise of a science fiction movie is “silly”. I feel like taking them in a time machine back to their childhood and popping their balloons and pointing out all the things that aren’t fucking real.

“See that Griffin you drew there Timmy”

“Yes bearded time lord?”

“Well it’s not fucking real you little shit and any imagination you have now will dry up like a fucking sponge as you age you little fucktard. You will be a bald, overweight cunt when you’re 27 and by the way when you get to 15 and you finally get to touch up Cheryl just remember that 20 minutes after you leave I get a fucking hand-job off her. Prick.”

Of course science fiction is fucking silly. It’s purely imaginative composition isn’t it? It’s always going to be a bit rough round the edges – stop being so fucking science and just go with the fiction part. For fuck sake. Every few years something like Moon, Gattacca or Primer comes along and some cunt goes “Oh it’s sci-fi for adults”, well it’s all for fucking adults. It’s just it’s for adults who don’t have to go through life expecting every last fucking detail to make sense. And you know what? Primer was fucking boring. There I said it. It’s dull and soulless, irritating and fucking boring. Primer was like watching a film made by a mathematician, a different type of mathematician and a prick. For all it’s clever meta-filmmaking it had no heart, no characters and I hate every frame of it as much as I hate every frame of every Michael Bay film. There I said that too – Primer is Michael Bay for emotionally unavailable maths pricks.

Gattaca and Moon on the other hand work because they take the science part and use it as a jumping off point, then they use the fiction to tell heartfelt human stories. Blade Runner and even 2001 have the same aspect of looking at humanity through a distorted, detached lens and as a result, they also work. My main problem with the type of person who gets annoyed by the flaws in science fiction is that they mainly take some sort of Spock like stance and say it’s not logical – forgetting that logic and fiction are like oil and water. Even in non-science fiction. And were you to point out to these logic nazis the flaws in any of those adult orientated masterpieces of modern cinema they’ll probably just flatly dismiss the whole genre just to claim a tiny little victory.

When science fiction is good you just go with it. Some of the logic will be flawed, there may be some slight holes in the plot but, if it’s good, you suspend that disbelief and enjoy it. When it achieves greatness it’s usually because you get to see something that you hitherto could not even have dreamt. It burns onto your retinas and creates something which you remember almost as a dream – this is pure cinema. When you are a child and you start to see your first films, this is the effect they have. Nothing you know is like the sights on the screen and so nothing is like those first few experiences. As you age, in order for a film to have even a slight amount of that power, it has to present you with something that reminds you of this feeling. For me 2001, Blade Runner, Alien even Brazil or the opening of 12 Monkeys had this effect on me during my teens. This sense of seeing something truly new reminded me of being a child in front of a screen and seeing everything with that same newness. Silly as that may seem, this is what science fiction does. There is no science fiction for adults – there are just films for a grown up child wanting to be wowed again.

When it’s bad science fiction is bad for all the same reasons that any movie is bad. It’s boring, it’s slow, it’s messy, it’s badly acted, scripted, directed, Keanu Reeves is in it. Whatever reason you want to mention, bad films are just bad films so fuck your logic and let’s go discuss Looper.

First off, I liked Rian Johnson’s first film Brick. Many didn’t and that’s fine. I likes the use of language and admired the way it was shot and paced. He also directed my favourite episode of Breaking Bad called Fly. It’s class. I haven’t seen The Brothers Bloom but IMDB tells me people who liked it also liked The Darjeeling Limited so chances are I’ll never bother watching it. Two hours of my life saved right there. Thanks the internet. So Rian, even if you can’t spell your name right, I was expecting good things from Looper even if its name is as shite as yours.

Looper is set in the future – a future where the American economy and society has collapsed (so it’s probably set in a few months time) and, as such, visually it’s full of inventive ways to make the future look absolutely horrid by basically using everything horrid about the present and making it look a little more run down and recycled. In this sense, visually, the film is fairly unique. All the cute techno-nuances are present and correct but this is the future of American poverty rather than the mega city dystopia that is the norm for this type of affair. Yes this is a very clever film. The plot is revealed through voiceover in the first 5 minutes…it’s got time travel… yadda yadda. In fact, it’s probably in the trailer too so I’m not wasting time or any more valuable web-space on rehashing it here. Suffice to say time travel exists and so do assassins. Bruce Willis comes back from the future, Joseph Gordon Levitt has a problem with this and ultimately it’s sort of The Terminator versus Shane.

Looper is by no means perfect. Bruce Willis is apparently only capable of playing Bruce Willis at this point, therefore Joseph Gordon Levitt has to do his best to play Bruce Willis and this he does extremely well. Whether or not this benefits the film as a whole, the jury remains out on that. The scenes that the two share are extremely well directed so it’s most noticeable when Levitt is required to talk to other characters and scrunch his face up as though he’s half blind and addicted to lemons. Levitt is, however, the strongest thing about the movie giving a fine, personable performance and seeming every bit the tough guy while remaining likeable. There are cliches of every kind here – regular film cliches, sci-fi cliches, even western cliches. Whether or not you love the film will rest solely on whether or not you can go along with its final act which does push it towards silly but, like I said, I personally will take silliness over earnest boredom any day.

What it does well, it does very well indeed. It’s fast, entertaining, original, visually arresting and it is to its credit that it never flounders under the weight of the afore mentioned flaws. It’s well shot with good performances from the cast. Jeff Daniels is fine as a mob boss though he never gets to be as bad-ass or sociopathic as Albert Brookes did in Drive which is a pity, so he still seems like a likeable father figure overall. Bruce Willis is, like I said, Bruce Willis but he’s used sparingly enough that he doesn’t have to carry the whole movie which is a good thing as for me he is best used in small doses. If Paul Dano went to the Bruce Willis school of acting then he must be a snivelling little shit in real life because he sure is good at that role. 

Overall Looper is a very good film. Perhaps not the masterpiece that the press would have you believe and not quite up to the standard of the art house block buster/head-fuck as Inception, but it’s at least aiming at that sort of league. Ambitious and entertaining – well worth a look.

 
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