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Quaker Psychopaths Are The New Black September 28, 2012

Posted by Alichat in Life, Movies, Random.
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For the second time this week, I found myself sitting in the theatre watching a movie with a Quaker psychopath.  Two movies, both from original scripts with an unusual yet fantastic plot, containing stellar casts, one a comedy and one a sci-fi thriller, and they both have Quaker psychopaths.  As Abby said….”What are the odds?!?  It’s like Quaker psychopaths are the new black!?”

Last night’s psychopath feature was Looper the sci-fi thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis.   Gordon-Levitt and Willis portray the same character, Joe, except Gordon-Levitt is Joe in the year 2044 and Willis is  Joe from 2074. (Simply called ‘Old Joe’ in the credits)  Yes, this is a time travel movie, and yes, it’s fantastically well done!  We learn, through minimal narration, that the mob runs things in the future, and they use time travel to get rid of people.  Joe is a Looper.  It’s his job to eliminate those sent back in time.  Pop! They appear.  Boom! He kills them with his chunky blunderbuss.  Until one day, the day after he makes a hugely regrettable decision, Joe is faced with his latest kill….himself.  He hesitates for just a moment, and this allows his future self to escape.  Of course, this we all learn from the trailers, and you think that the entire movie is about Joe trying to catch and eliminate Old Joe.  But there is so much more to this stylized thriller.

In the dystopian world of Looper, the many starving and homeless on the streets, trying to survive, are juxtaposed against the excessive, drug fueled wealthy mostly made up of Loopers, former Loopers, and those that service the Loopers.  Moving through this world, we see that Joe is a greedy, self-centered, cold, lonely, and surprisingly naive man.  Determined to find his future self,  Joe thinks all will be forgiven once he finds him and finishes the job.  But Abe, his boss and a mob lieutenant from the future  (portrayed by a somewhat hipster-ish Jeff Daniels,) doesn’t see it that way, and kicks off a city-wide hunt for both Joes.  But Old Joe it seems has an agenda of his own.  He wants to eliminate the 2074 crime lord known only as the Rainmaker.

Looper has slick action, and is well laid out for a time jumping, futuristic, dual character film.  Writer and director Rian Johnson has created a stylized film that is easy to follow, and compelling at the same time.  The future world he created is detailed and believable. There is just enough new technology and flying machines to let us feel it’s the future, without all the gadgets becoming the film. The world is familiar and yet new.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s prosthetic make-up is understated and just enough to sell him as a younger Bruce Willis.  Too many prosthetics, and his appearance would have become distracting, pulling you out of the film. (Like those Quaker psychopaths!! It was the hats!!)  But it’s subtle and still allows him to be his usual;  strong, expressive, and emotive.  One of the most impressive feats of the film was the casting of Pierce Gagnon as Cid, the son of Sara (Emily Blunt) a single mother and farm owner.  Knowing his future self will show up at Sara’s home,  Joe stakes out the place and in turn becomes close with Sara and Cid.  Pierce is impressive for such a little guy, owning his scenes whether with Blunt or Gordon-Levitt.  A scene between Joe and Cid around the kitchen table late one night is both adorable and intense.  The cast is rounded out with a spastic Paul Dano as Joe’s best friend Seth, Noah Segan as fellow Looper Kid Blue, and a revealing (literally) Piper Perabo, whose purpose in the story was too coincidental and, I’m sad to say, a waste of a good actress.

The movie is rated R, in case anyone else sees the PG-13 banner I saw at the end of the credits.  But it is and should be R for the nudity and violence. Garret Dillahunt’s scene alone puts it in the R rating area. There’s so much more I’d like to tell you about this intriguing film, but my proofreader reminded me that this is a review and not a recap!  Leaving the theatre, you’re not only reeling from the mind bending story you’ve just witnessed, but also left with a myriad of philosophical thoughts running through your head.  Is someone’s fate pre-determined, or can it be changed?  Was Old Joe really a different man, or was he still the selfish guy he berates Joe for being?  (The face to face meeting in the diner….so great!)  Would Joe have made the same choices if he had not chosen to track down his future self?  Prepare to have your mind blown!

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