'Looper' and its loose connections

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It wouldn't be wrong to say that what you read below is a bit far-fetched and comes closer to an uninteresting conspiracy theory but I have my own reasons to project them. I being an individualist and a film-noir fan for many years, it wouldn't be an instance of random and meaningless case of shooting in the dark, but it would be a strong case of a molecular study or observation of a specific genre of films and the style perceived by a filmmaker.

Rian Johnson’s "Looper" is termed as a science fiction action film. It contains 'science, fiction and action'. I experienced the feeling of micro epiphany while watching 'Looper', because I was able to relate it with the works of Jean-Pierre Melville. I warn the reader not to proceed further not because of the spoilers but due to the scope of being ridiculous is high and you may miss the fun when if you haven’t watched it. So, read at your own risk.

The first scene of the film vaguely deceives the average viewer but at the same time it directly projects the profession of the protagonist, which is explained in detail later in the film. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the role of 'Joe Simmons' who is a looper working for a precarious organization. Joe is single and lives alone in his apartment which is neatly structured. I couldn't resist comparing the dark latitude of cinematography of the apartment with that of Jean-Pierre Melville’s masterpiece 'Le Samourai'. I felt that this shot is quite significant and would have skipped my attention if I weren't an ardent fan of Melville's works. I need not stress the importance of Jef Costello’s room in 'Le Samourai' for film critics and scholars; I guess the same amount of assertiveness in the character can be linked to Joe Simmons.

Most part of the film happens in 2044 and the narrator informs us that in future time travel is invented and the people from future contact them and explains us the concept of ‘Loop’ the role of a 'Looper' and how one ends his own loop. In 'Le Samourai' due to dramatic turn of events, or should I say due to (lack of conventional melodramatic) turn of events, Jef Costello is wanted by the police and the mafia and he has to find a way to come out of the nested loop, so is the case with Joe Simmons who is running away from the crime syndicate and he is also following and running away from himself (This is where the genre of science fiction fits)
In the film 'The Red Circle', Melville's infuses his own quote impersonated in the name of Lord Buddha, it says …

"Buddha, drew a circle with a piece of red chalk and said: 'When men, even unknowingly, are to meet one day, whatever may befall each, whatever the diverging paths, on the said day, they will inevitably come together in the red circle.'"

Read the above quote again, though it’s not by Gautama Buddha, it has importance in ‘The Red Circle’ and a parallel significance in Rian Johnson’s 'Looper'. The ideological confrontations which Melville presented in his films are also found in the 'Looper'. The underlying thought process of emotions forced to face the rationality of a given situation is also a theme which we find in Melville’s films, which is also the pivotal point of 'Looper'. In 'The Red Circle', 'Le Samourai' and 'Un flic', Melville confronts different thoughts of characters that are on one or the other side of the line of ‘law’ and emotional pain which the characters endure while making their decisions. 'Looper' scores highly on the emotional level, director and writer Rian Johnson design the loop perfectly to suit a plot which justifies the emotional connection of characters and eventually he gives the perfect ending to the infinite loop (If I am allowed to use the word 'infinite').

Melville was very good at masking and unmasking emotional details and encapsulating the essence of his characters. His films throw many questions and give fewer answers. In ‘Looper’ Joe Simmons has a discussion with himself, the young Joe Simmons has a thought process which is different from the old Joe Simmons played by Bruce Willis. Meeting and killing yourself from the future is nothing less than to be termed as weird but it’s the emotional phenomenon of the particular looper is exposed and tested when he has to kill himself. The infinite questions which arise from such concept are interesting and the discussions would drag us into our own discussion loops, and director easily skips this with the help of a conversation between the young and old Joe Simmons.

"I don't want to talk about time travel shit. If we start talking about it, we're going to be here all day. Making diagrams with straws."

Minimalism is Melville’s forte. He was inspired from the film-noirs and American crime thrillers, but his perspective of a crime thriller came with a signature of minimalism. 'Looper' is being compared with Christopher Nolan's 'Inception', apart from few gray shades I don’t find many similarities between ‘Inception’ and ‘Looper’, if I have to find a favorite similarity between 'Looper' and works of Melville, I would say it is the projection of minimalism and this is where it drastically deviates from Nolan’s 'Inception'. 'Looper' happens in 2044, where America has witnessed an economic downfall, I don’t know whether there is a political message hidden here, but minimalism is shown on the screen even though the genre of 'science fiction' accompanied by 'action thriller' could have taken the liberty of being extravagant.

On the causal side of my observations, Melville used coats, hats and revolvers generously in his films and characters had their unique style statements attached to them. In 'Looper' Abe played by Jeff Daniels says

"The movies that you're dressing like are just copying other movies. These goddamn 20th century affectations. Do something new."

 .. and very importantly he also says

"Men are like spiders. It's the little ones you've got to be careful of."

Works of Melville are either tragic or melancholic. 'Looper' with all its burden of science-fiction, action and thriller does end on a high note with a touching climax even though it throws many logical questions which would again create a loop of questions and if you rigorously brainstorm them you may reach an ideological end to end your loop.

 If the reader comes to a conclusion that Rian Johnson had adapted the style of Jean-Pierre Melville then the reader totally misunderstood from what I have written above. Style of Rian Johnson is very different from that of Melville. In recent times, the only filmmaker who brilliantly and romantically comes close to the style and taking of Jean-Pierre Melville is 'Nicolas Winding Refn' in his film 'Drive'.

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