[[BIG SPOILERS AHEAD]]
So. Looper. I wanted to watch it because it was "time travel done right." And it was. And it was sublime.
Walking out of the theater me and Tin couldn't quite decide whether we liked it or not, although we were in agreement that the kid from hell was well played (meaning nakakatakot talaga sya) and that while killing oneself was a sad thing, it was, set upon the rules of the universe, necessary, and had to be done, and was perhaps the most perfect solution given the circumstances.
By the time I got home (and it was a long while because the cabbie decided to take the scenic Batasan route), little things about the movie called out to me: how subtly they injected acceptance of TK at the start so we'd be appropriately wowed at what the kid can do, or how brilliantly they treated time travel as a backdrop to Joe's character development, or how powerfully they built Old Joe's and Sara's clashing missions so that Joe's options were crystal clear (Old Joe killed an actual, living, breathing kid knowing he could be two-thirds wrong! Sara hid inside a giant safe but came out to hug the terrifying little monster!), or how Joe, in hindsight, could have been the only person who could have fully understood the gravity of the things that were happening around him (he knows where the road of abandonment leads, he knows he will soak up love like a sponge), which made his final act the most redemptive, most meaningful way to end it.
How can a movie do that? How dare it place these things on-screen on the off-chance that people will sit down and appreciate it? How dare it talk about life and love and the supremacy of choice using a sci-fi movie slash futuristic Western taking the inherent problems of time travel head-on?
In the end, I think I think it was a wonderful movie. It wasn't Inception, it wasn't Primer (I'm tempted to ask and freely admit that if you've seen the Primer and been able to sit through it and was tickled pink by the possibilities then we might just be who we've been looking for all our lives), but it has a place in one of them smart science fiction movies.
I told Tin near the escalators that I wanted to write something--when a movie does that to me, it often means something. The fact is, even after the final sacrifice, there was no guarantee that the kid was going to turn out okay. What we are made sure of is that if Sara dies then the kid will get a headstart on the road to destruction. But what Joe's choice tells me is that that tiny chance that a kid with abilities like that turns out okay is all worth it. And he'd be right.
I'm writing a secret letter to myself, channeling my future self ten years from now. It's pretty heavy stuff. You won't get to see it. Maybe after ten years, when I close that loop in a way. Haha.
Download the commentary here, not to be watched during your first screening.