Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Looper (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Joe jacks a nearby hoverbike and escapes into the cornfield as well, which is kind of strange because he should be pretty easy to find on a thing like that. He looks over the piece of the map he took, tracing it to a very nearby farm where we meet the third star of this movie, Emily Blunt. She's playing a farmer named Sara, whose hobbies include pointlessly hacking at a stump with an ax and pretending to smoke cigarettes. She's kinda weird.

Back in the city, Abe takes Blue's gat away from him. He's very mad at Blue for trying to capture Bruce on his own, but once again isn't scary at all. Blue is played by the excellent Noah Segan, who was also in Brick as well as the MEGA fucked up film Deadgirl, a film which can be described as “not right in the head” in the understatement of the decade.

Segan is really good in this film, playing Blue as a cocky hitman who doesn't have the brains to back up his swagger. He also really wants to please Abe, again nearly in tears that he's failed him again. Abe doesn't kill him though, instead taking a hammer and breaking his gun hand. I take this as proof Blue is Present Abe, since he doesn't kill Blue when he really should have and seems to be taking great care to protect him.

On Sara's farm that night, she finds Joe hiding on her property. He's going through withdrawal from his eye drop drug, her young son Cid bringing him water against Sara's wishes. I guess he's not her son as he calls her “Sara” when she puts him to bed.

Bruce is now hiding in the sewers, now having memories of Sara slapping Joe awake after he passed out from his withdrawal He thinks about his wife to focus himself. The next morning Joe awakens in the barn, Sara waiting for him armed with a shotgun. She wants him off her property but he tells her he needs to stay there for awhile.

He shows her the map to get confirmation the location Bruce had circled was indeed her farm, and she notices the number Bruce wrote down on it. This upsets her greatly, to the point she takes her shotgun and shoots Joe pointblank in the chest. DAYMN! Well that's it for Joe's story, let's see if Bruce has met the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles down in the-

Oh. Joe isn't dead because the shotgun was loaded with rock salt. Woof, that had to hurt something FIERCE! We briefly go to Bruce, who looks at the RIGHT side of his collarbone where a new scar now is. He has a memory of Sara shooting him. Sara demands to know who he is, so he starts telling her about time travel. She asks “you're a looper?”, which again backs up my theory that pretty much everyone knows about loopers and in the future they should have been quite easy to find and make squeal on their bosses.

Joe tells her what's going on (but neglects to tell her Bruce's true identity), Sara realizing Bruce will be coming here to kill her son. She then asks the same thing I was wondering about in the diner, “Once he kills the Rainmaker, what happens?”

“I think he thinks if he killed the Rainmaker, he never would have been sent back, so he'd just vanish. He'd disappear just like he appeared. He'd be back with his wife.”

Well... that doesn't make a lick of sense. Joe delivers the line like he believes it, but they've established time travel is a one way ticket. Weird. Sara asks who the runner is, but Joe deflects this question by asking about the numbers. She tells him they're Cid's birthday and the med code of the hospital he was born in, and that there were two other boys born the same day. They have a horrifying realization Bruce is going to kill ALL the kids just to be sure.

This is cut with footage of Bruce arriving at the address of the first child. He advances on him with a gun, raising it and pulling the trigger. The next shot is Bruce leaving the house, leaning up against a nearby wall and breaking down into tears. This triggers a flashback of him and his wife sleeping in bed, and they're awoken by the crying of their baby. Holy shit, the baby burned to death in the house.

Sara asks Joe if she can trust him, Joe replying he doesn't care about her or her son. He just wants to kill Bruce and get his life back. Awhile later Sara cleans out the salt wound on Joe's chest while they plan a defensive strategy. There's a mistake here as Sara is cleaning the LEFT side of Joe's chest where the salt wound is, not the right where Bruce's scar was. Oops!

Joe wants to burn down the sugarcane fields so he can have a clear view of Bruce approaching them. Sara tells him what a dumbass idea this is, calling him a “fucking nut”. Sara is awesome and instantly has some great chemistry going with Joe. Wonder where that's going to lead?

Sara tells him he can use whatever she has to help stop Bruce, but she does not want him talking to her son. Sara makes Joe wince as she continues cleaning out his wounds, telling him it's very easy for things to get infected on a farm and that they could start falling off. She calls him a pussy for good measure, just because Emily Blunt decided I didn't love her enough already.

Joe says they'll need a way to communicate with each other since he'll be staying out in the barn. Sara realizes Cid is watching them from the door, telling him she doesn't want him around Joe. Cid just wants to help him, offering to use his toys to help.

Shockingly enough, neither male listens to her and they talk to each other that night. Cid is working on modifying two of his frog toys to flash lights to each other when a button is pressed to function as a warning signal of sorts. Cid tells Joe that Sara isn't his mother and that he saw his real mother get killed. Joe suggests he talk to Sara about this, but Cid just replies that she is a liar. Cid is an incredibly creepy kid, and wow has the tone of this movie shifted. That is absolutely not a bad thing at all, it's just gotten very dark since, um, all the dead kids.

In the morning Joe gives Sara the frog communicators, getting busted when he tries to lie about where they came from. He tells her what Cid said, Sara explaining that she IS her mother but she gave up him to her sister when he was very young so we could continue her life living in the city.  The film never comes out and says it, but it seems like Sara was a hooker or at the least involved in a very unhealthy lifestyle. Joe asks how her sister died which pisses her off, so she reiterates that he is NOT to talk to Cid.

Sara works on teaching Cid math, Cid telling her that she should be helping Joe. Cid should have been the one playing Abe, I am scared to death of this kid. Well, undeath in my case. Sara tells him to stay out of it so he starts SCREAMING at her that he hates her and she's going to get killed because she won't stop lying. GODDAMN!

The movie transforms into the Exorcist as the room gets dark and everything starts shaking. We're now in slow motion, and Cid is yelling at the top of his lungs he hates her. Sara runs away in sheer terror, hightailing it to her bedroom where she locks herself in a giant safe she keeps in the closet. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK! Wasn't this a movie about a hitman trying to kill his future self or something?

Awhile later we see Cid has screamed himself out, passed out on his bed. Sara comes to see him which wakes him up, he hugs her and says he's sorry.  Meanwhile, Bruce has hunted down his next address. It's the apartment of Suzie, where he watches her bring her little boy home.  The same day Sara gets woken up by a knocking at her door. As see goes to answer it, we can see her frog communicator is lighting up like crazy. A very friendly and polite gat man is at her door, saying he's looking for an escaped criminal and his father, showing her pictures of Joe and Bruce.

He sits in her living room, trying to use his phone to check in but can't catch a signal. We can see Joe is hiding behind Sara's couch while Cid is watching from atop the stairs. We get what is easily one of the funniest scenes I've EVER seen, as Cid pantomimes Joe should shoot the gat man while Joe shakes his head no.

Cid quietly sneaks downstairs and hides in a closet, Joe joining him. This takes them to a hidden tunnel and a hiding place outside in the field. Joe tells Cid that gat man is named Jesse and he's a very nice man, which is his attempt to make Cid not worry about his mother being alone in the house with the hitman but Cid doesn't really seem to care.

Cid asks about Joe's mom and we learn his backstory. His mom also gave him up when he was young, but in the form of selling him to a “panhandle gang”. He escaped from them on a train, spending years of his life dreaming about getting revenge on the gang and saving his mom. He was later found by Abe, who saved him in a fashion by “putting a gun in his hand”.

Blue watches security footage of Bruce looking in Suzie's windows that he bought from a guard or something. The gears start turning in his head. I do like Bruce didn't immediately try to kill Suzie and her son, that he's doing some recon beforehand. For all the story details this movie sacrifices it sure as hell makes up for them with character details.

Later that night Sara is lying in bed awake, about to start touching herself when she's all “Wait, what the fuck am I doing?! I have Mr. Heart Throb Himself JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT out in my barn!” and presses the button on her frog. He soon arrives at her door asking what's wrong, and she starts kissing him. They have sex, or at least I think they do because in the next scene she's lying in bed fully clothed still.

Nah, they must have because Joe is getting dressed. I suppose this makes sense she'd get dressed in case Cid walked in. She's smoking an actual cigarette as well as making the lighter spin around to reveal she's a telekinetic. She also reveals she knows Bruce is Joe's loop. They discuss Cid, Sara talking about the guilt she feels for abandoning Cid when he was little and that as long as she's around he'll be taken care of and won't get lost.  Joe wakes up to find the bed empty. He heads downstairs to find Jesse holding a gun to Sara's head. I wonder how long they were just standing there waiting for Joe to wake up.

Joe quickly agrees to come with Jesse, so he lowers his gun. However the creak of the stairs caused by Cid startles him, and he points his gun at him. This scares Cid and he ends up falling down the stairs. We immediately cut to Bruce breaking into Suzie's apartment, entering her son's bedroom with his gun drawn. Back at Sara's, everything in the house starts levitating, including Jesse's gat. Sara runs at full speed but towards Joe instead of Cid, tackling him out of the open door.

Cid starts screaming with a Satan face as Jesse starts hovering and blood starts pouring out of him, in what is a horrifying visual made even more demented by the fact it's all in slow motion. Bruce bursts into the bedroom but instead of finding a defenseless child it's Kid Blue, who hits him with a taser.

Joe and Sara land outside as a minor explosion rocks the house. Sara reveals Cid's powers are out of this world, and that he accidentally killed her sister when a bookshelf fell on him and he got scared. She plans to raise him to be good so he'll use his powers for good, but Joe knows otherwise. He grabs his gun and goes looking for Cid, finding him in the cane field.

Cid is crouched down and covered in blood, looking scared out of his mind. Joe walks up to him and gives him a hug, Sara arriving and doing the same. Joe says within fifteen minutes either Bruce, who now will have memories that Cid is the Rainmaker, or the gat men will be arriving. He tells Sara to take Jesse's truck and drive the hell out of there.

Blue takes Bruce to the club, but this does NOT good good. Bruce escapes and murders the SHIT out of everyone in a beautifully violent scene. This is the most bad ass I've seen Bruce Willis in years. Blue, who was only knocked out in the massacre, wakes up to find Abe dead of a headshot. He sees a map on Abe's wall with the farm's location circled on it.  Bruce arrives at the farm in a truck, Joe waiting for him. Joe is about to shoot him when Blue arrives on his hoverbike, knocking Joe over. He turns around for another pass but gets his head blown off in the process.  R.I.P., Maybe Abe.

Joe realizes Bruce has used this little distraction to disappear. He catches up to Sara and Cid, who are driving down the road in their fancy Product Placement Ford F-150 truck. Sara accelerates to run his ass over, but Cid starts panicking because he's afraid Bruce will shoot them. He ends up accidentally using his powers to flip the truck, which allows Bruce to advance on them.

They run out of the truck as Bruce shoots at them, grazing Cid across the jaw. Cid's telekinesis starts going berserk.  Cid suspends Bruce in midair, glaring at him with a literal “if looks can kill” look. Sara tries to calm Cid down, telling him she loves him over and over again.  Cid starts crying, his powers subsiding. Bruce gets up and grabs his gun, shooting Sara. Joe has arrived at the scene, but is too far away to do anything except narrate.

“Then I saw it. I saw a mom who would die for her son. A man who would kill for his wife. A boy, angry and alone. Laid out in front of him, the bad path. I saw it. And the path was a circle... round and round. So I changed it.”

This is spoken over Cid riding away on a train, holding a dirty rag to the wound on his face. But it turns out none of this has happened, as this was all in Joe's mind. Bruce hasn't shot Sara yet, and Joe knows what he has to do. He turns his blunderbuss on himself and pulls the trigger.

Bruce gets a strange look on his face as he instantly vanishes, gun and all. Oh, I really wish the gun had just fallen to the ground because it really REALLY should have. If the stolen gun vanished then the stolen truck should have vanished too, but we'll see it's just fine in the next scene.  Back at the farm Sara cleans the wound on Cid's face and puts him to bed. She goes back to the field where she finds Bruce's truck was full of silver bars. She walks up to Joe's body, finding his pocket watch next to him. She closes it in a touching moment.  The final shot is of Cid sleeping in bed as the screen fades to white.

Cue the credits.

Wow, AWESOME movie and a must see no matter your movie sensibilities. Without overthinking it, the story is great and just about every actor brought their A game for this one. A+ for Gordon-Levitt, Blunt, and Willis. It's amazingly edited and paced so well you don't realize the majority of this movie takes place on a farm until long after the credits have rolled. Hell, even the abused trope of two strangers having sex shortly after meeting was justified here.

Buuuuuut, let's just say for a moment one wanted to analyze the story a bit more in-depth. The heart and soul of this movie is based on the following time loop:

-Joe's mother was a junkie who sold him to a gang. He escaped the gang by boarding a train, longing for revenge on those that hurt his mother

-He grew up to become a looper, his loop getting closed in 2044

-He retired to China, ending up joining the mafia there and losing himself in violence and drugs

-In 2067 he met the woman who'd change his life, rescuing him from his self-destructive ways

-At some point in the late 2060s, a super telekinetic named the Rainmaker took over all the gangs, ordering the closure of all the loopers's loops

-In 2077 it was Joe's turn to have his loop closed. The gat men sent to abduct him end up savagely killing his family, which fueled Bruce's obsession for revenge on the Rainmaker. Bruce killed the gat men and sent himself back in time to kill the Rainmaker as a child. He escapes from Young Joe when he arrives in the past

-The Rainmaker is a child named Cid, being raised by his mother Sara

-Present Joe figures out what Future Joe is planning to do, vowing to protect Sara and Cid. He tells Cid the story of his life, which plants seeds for what Cid would do if he ever lost his mother

-Sadly this happens, as Future Bruce ends up shooting Sara in front of Cid. Cid escapes on a train, sustaining a gunshot wound on his face from Future Bruce. This ends up getting infected, and he loses his jaw

-These events give him a deep hatred for the mafia and loopers, as he grows up and gets revenge on them all. This continues the time loop, or circle as Joe calls it, in perpetuity

Really, it's very straightforward. In his attempt to kill the man who killed his family, Joe unknowingly CREATES the man who killed his family. Like all time loops in fiction, you'll suffer a brain aneurysm trying to figure out how it started so you just have to accept it.  BUT, and this is HUGE here, this loop is rendered impossible when Joe closes his loop. For this loop to happen, Future Joe HAS to escape from Present Joe. If Present Joe kills Future Joe, then the Rainmaker will never be created. This is called a time paradox.

The movie tries to have its cake and eat it by playing both sides of the time travel spectrum. I call one side the “Butterfly Effect” and the other side the “Back to the Future”. The Butterfly Effect basically means there's only ONE timeline, and whatever you do in the past affects the future. The Back to the Future means whatever you do in the past creates an alternate timeline and doesn't affect the future of the timeline you're in.

Abe invokes the Butterfly Effect when he talks about what they're doing to Seth will change the future, and we see this numerous times by a character getting a physical alteration that affects their future self. I'm not even going to get into how the changes are instantaneous when the future incarnation should have always had them, my zombie brain can only sort so much.

The Back to the Future is used a lot between the two Joes, highlighted by the paradox of Future Joe creating the Rainmaker. Even if Present Joe hadn't killed himself to break the loop and Future Joe had been successful in creating the Rainmaker, there's no way Present Joe would grow up to be the same Future Joe at this point.

Again, all time travel movies have these problems. As long as you don't let it harm your enjoyment of the movie (especially great ones like this), there's nothing wrong with overanalyzing paradoxes and impossibilities. Hell, that's half the fun of these movies!