Loopers, Life, and Love | Carl E. Olson | Catholic World Report
The movie “Looper” has time traveling and assassins, but also philosophical and moral depth.
Two weekends ago, I went to the movie theater for the fourth
time this year, which means I've already doubled my in-the-cineplex movie
intake over last year. I certainly like movies, but have, in recent years,
spent more time following various television series, which have the advantage
of being able to unfold (or unravel, in some sad cases) over the course of
several years. That said, certain premises capture my attention, and the set-up
for "Looper" is one of those: a time travel flick with a dose or two
of philosophical musing and inference mixed in among the obligatory explosions,
killing, tussles, chases, and special effects.
(Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead! Repeat: Major Spoilers Ahead!)
First, the downside: "Looper", the third film by talented writer and director Rian Craig Johnson, is quite violent and occasionally vulgar, and sometimes in a way that is simply gratuitous. This is unfortunate, as the gore and language (and one scene with nudity) sometimes detract and distract from a movie that is propulsive, gripping, and, as it builds to a gripping conclusion, quite poignant. It succeeds as both an "action flick" and a morality play of sorts, even if the latter only emerges through a series of intermittent, but hardly random, instances of reflective dialogue borne along by exceptional cinematic storytelling. "Looper" has its share of carnage, but it is rarely crude; in fact, I think it can be plausibly argued that the intense violence is intended to inform and set in relief the deeper moral form of the film.
Of course, I'm also the same moviegoer who thought (and still thinks) that "Kill Bill, Part Two" is a (gasp!) pro-life movie, whether or not Quentin Tarantino intended such a thing. So, take it with a grain of salt. Or with an entire salt lick, if you wish. Still, I am quite happy to present my argument for "Looper" as a morality play with some worthwhile things to say—or, better, reveal in cinematic fashion—about free will, authentic love, the power of motherhood (and fatherhood, for that matter), and the nature of evil.