Thursday, November 1, 2012

“Looper”: OK if You Like These Kinds of Movies

Twice I invited Katie to see “Looper” with me. Twice she opted for something else. Finally I got my brother to go, which vindicates feminine intuition while proving that any two guys will do something stupid if you give them enough chances. “Looper” will have you gripping your arm-rests for nearly two hours, and leave you thinking you’ve just seen one of the most soulless movies ever made. Right after “Looper” tries to sell you its soul.

Time-travel movies and I don’t get along. Trying to figure them out, I always seem to be a few minutes behind. So if “Looper” were only a time-travel movie—about the mob sending people back in time to get whacked by blunderbuss-toting thugs so that the whackees will never make trouble again in the future—it would have two strikes against it, at least where this umpire is concerned.

But “Looper” is also a “Clockwork Orange”–style vision of dystopia, with rich creeps drugging and shagging while poor “vagrants” wander the streets starving when they’re not being turned into roadkill by drug- and sex-happy thugs.

And “Looper” is also a creepy-telekinetic-kid chiller in the style of the “Exorcist” or “Poltergeist.” (Sorry, my experience of creepy-kid movies ended about 30 years ago. I know they’ve come a long way, baby.)

And at the end of two very long hours, “Looper” will try to convince you that, all that being said and exploded and splattered, this movie really is a simple heart-tugger about the possibility of redemption through self-sacrifice and a mother’s love. In other words, after asking you to swallow 110 minutes of ultra-violence and mind-bending mindlessness, “Looper” gives you about 4 minutes of ultra-schmaltz. It’s a bit like giving you a breath mint at the end of a hard night of drinking. Just so you can imagine that your breath don’t stink.

I don’t feel any better about myself for having seen “Looper,” with or without the breath mint. I suggest you save yourself a couple of Pepto-Bismols and maybe a nightmare too by passing. You can thank me and my brother.

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