06
Jan
13

Looper is good

I avoided seeing “Looper” in the movie theater because it just looked really suspect. It was really good though, and I think they could have made a better ad campaign for the movie by talking about or at least showing clips of some of the other aspects of the movie. 

Artistically, I think most of the movie is superb. The movie is set in the future (two futures actually) but trying to cater visually to that fact does not overwhelm the simple spare acting that is required of the leads. There are some slightly weird looking cars and some skyscrapers and weird vehicles, but mostly, the point is all about recreating a kind of a simple future. Most of the movie takes place on a farm and so the movie hides the fact that it is out of time with our timeline.

Also, the way that Loopers kill is really interesting and

Philosophically, there are a lot of interesting parts to the movie. 

One concerns personal identity. Are we the same person as ourselves in 30 years? In one way, the answer is obviously yes. I will be myself in 30 years just as I am now, just (hopefully) wiser. In another way, I might be very unlike my younger self. We may value different things and so in one way, be considered separate people that are nonetheless by a certain type of psychological relationship (think Parfit’s relationship R). Elder Joe has completely different cares than younger Joe and so the two disagree about what should be done. They both want their lives to continue and so find themselves in conflict despite the fact that they are just two slices or representatives of the same life. 

There is also the interesting discussion of cycles of violence. Time travel necessarily lends itself to discussing cycles and this movie is no different. At the end of the movie, Joe (Gordon-Levitt) realizes that there is no choice other than his own destruction that can stop the cycle of violence that has begun (Bruce Willis is the bad guy, which is something else the previews did not prepare me for). I like how all of the components of the cycle of violence has a compelling reason for doing what they do (Willis wants his life, Joe wants his life, Emily Blunt (is her character ever named in dialogue?) wants her kid). Everyone wants something that is right to want, but nonetheless the combination is dire. In a very existential, Nietzschean moment, Joe realizes that he is the source of the problem. His very existence, desires, and strivings are responsible for the problem. So he kills himself. 

I really wanted to see at least a few seconds of what the future would be like now that the young telekinetic child will grow up in a loving environment. Does humanity enter a new golden age? That much is hinted at by a bit of dialogue where Emily Blunt tells Gordon-Levitt to imagine what could happen if she could be with her child and guide him. The idea of a powerful but benevolent human rising up to help humanity reminds me of the Warhammer 40k in which the emperor (the “god-emperor”) comes to rule and guide humanity owing to his telekinetic ability. 

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