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Some Ramblings - Looper (2012)
By Srinivas Kanchibhotla

'What would you do if you won a million dollars?' is probably the crowd favorite of hypothetical questions. The question has just the right amount of plausibility and wishful thinking. Even though the chances of hitting the bulls eye is in millions (even billions, in some cases), that doesn't deter one from speculating how his world would completely change if predicted the sequence of a set of numbers right. Talking about time travel is similar to that. Setting aside the mechanics of science for a second, and the (im)probability and (im)plausibility of it, the possibilities of such a voyage piques minds on both sides of the intelligence spectrum alike. From being just a passive observer to the proceedings of the past for purely academic purposes, to being an active participant along the way rewriting the past, the options of what could be done if one indeed had the ability to slide along the time scale at will, are just limitless, and every option throws up a horde of questions ranging from meta-physical to physical, from philosophical to ethical. When opening any discussion about time travel, the prerequisites need to be laid down first. Since each exercise is a mind game anyway, there no right and wrong rules here, merely, whether the set upon rules are adhered to or not. One such rule is, the past is the past, and no matter what one did, nothing changes, making the present and the future a predetermined or a destined eventuality than a causal entity. Go back in time and kill Hitler. One school of thought says, Jews would still had found another executor anyway, because it was the conditions prevalent during the then humiliated and simmering Germany that gave rise to a (or had helped) Hitler than he himself whipping up a sedate nation into an anti-Semitic frenzy. In that situation Hitler could just as easily be substituted for a Himmler or a Goebbels and the 6 millions Jews would still had suffered the same fate by probably different means. The causal path in the flowchart is the more interesting one. If the entire universe thrives on a tit for tat cause and effect, how could not altering the past have an effect on the future, even if that means, spawning an alternate universe altogether.

Time travel movies rely on the time tested tactic about someone in the present making a trip back in time meeting his young self to really stir the p(l)ot. Well, how about the present (or future) self go back to the past (or present) and lead a life completely oblivious of his doppelganger? It would be mind boggling to count the number of different threads and universes that time has to create to make any sense to the two physical forms pertaining to the same person hurtling towards the same end line at different speeds. 'Looper' makes a pretty convincing case of such a possibility where in the ground rules of the game established beforehand, that times are such that the present self has to knowingly terminate the future self, pretty much setting his own expiration date, for a little bit of money to enjoy whatever time he has till his present catches up with the future. And that leaves a strong possibility, a sliver of opportunity for the future to escape his death, if things went his way. It is not the escaping part that is interesting, but the potential that arises out of the single timeline intersecting with itself that is intriguing. This is a smartly written and ably directed one that never cheats on its own rules and sets up a climax that is paradoxical yet plausible at the same time. Movies as these are tough to write adhering to the causal philosophy than the ones based on immutable destiny (like, interestingly enough, another Bruce Willis movie about time travel - 12 Monkeys). 'Looper' is a science fiction in thought and an intelligent thriller in action, and that shows in the way the near future looks pretty much like the present, save for a few technological advancements, and once the time travel device is dispensed with, plays on the same moral dillemmas that continue to hound the humanity through the passage of time. Rare are such breed that take these hypotheticalities with such seriousness and deliver a result that harps on humanity. With a tip of the hat to Stephen King (for the 'Carrie' and 'Firestarter' references), 'Looper' opens another front in the discussion about time travel, ones involving moral choices.

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More Ramblings on films
Sky Fall
Cloud Atlas
The Dark Knight Rises
The Businessman
The Avengers
The Artist
Money Ball
Adventures of Tintin
Mission Impossible: Ghosty Porotocol
Sri Ramarajyam
The Ides of March
The Tree of Life
Super 8
Teen Maar
Inside Job
127 hours
The king's speech
The social network
Peepli [live]
Kick Ass
Ye Maya Chesave
Maya Bazaar
3 Idiots
Inglorious Basterds
District 9
The Hurt Locker
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire
Quantom of Solace
The Dark Knight
Wall - E
The incredible Hulk
Indiana Jones and the kingdom of crystal skull
Speed Racer
Iron Man
Jodha Akbar
There will be blood
Chrlie Wilson's War
No Country for Old Men
Om Shanti Om
Lions for Lambs
American Gangster
Michael Clayton
Happy Days
Chak De India!
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Simpsons Movie
The Grindhouse
Casino Royale
The Departed
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Sri Ramadasu
Rang De Basanti (Hindi)
Jai Chiranjeeva!
Munich (English)
Sarkar (Hindi)
Mangal Padey (Hindi)
Kaadhal (Tamil)
Anukokunda Oka Roju
Batman Begins (English)
Radha Gopalam
Mughal E Azam
Virumandi (Tamil)
Lakshya (Hindi)
Yuva (Hindi)
Kakha Kakha (Tamil)
Mr & Mrs Iyer
Nuvve Nuvve


This article is written by Srinivas Kanchibhotla
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