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Over time, as I’ve watched society slowly try to cave in on itself, I’ve thought more and more about “Parable Of The Sower”. The gripping apocalyptic novel by Octavia Butler follows life in a futuristic, codeless hellscape through the eyes of a 16 year old black girl named Lauren. The book follows her day to day life in a world of ever increasing uncertainty; where none are sure whether today will be their last, and whatever innocence remains in the lives of her and the other children are slowly being shredded away. What really makes Sower worthwhile is how it handles the major themes of life that we grapple with daily: survival, strength, love, sex, family and, at the forefront, religion. Butler’s ruminations through the eyes of a young girl are engrossing, chilling and poetic–and the book itself is a magnetic deconstruction of the “comfortable” society built for us. Personally, I’ve thought about this book a lot as I’ve watched the world slowly eat itself, bit by bit, each day; finding the story it lays out even scarier. If you’re interested in finding a new book to read, this is definitely one to add to the list.

There’s a difficulty with Looper, the newest film from writer-director Rian Johnson, that matches the difficulty with time travel. It’s a messy and often convoluted difficulty, yet somehow, it works-both the science and the film. Looper stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, the titular looper, a hitman in 2044 for the mob of 20 years further in the future where time travel has been created. Joe’s job consists of executing people who are sent back by the mob until he comes in contact with himself 30 years from now, played by Bruce Willis, on a mission to find a man known as the rainmaker. It’s messy and yet, like Johnson’s last Gordon-Levitt starring feature Brick, there’s a method and beauty to the mess. The film dabbles with the ultimate science fiction tool, time travel, and plays with it on unique levels. The film tackles the issue of what time travel means to the nature of things; the alternate realities you create and what happens when you ruin that cycle made out for life. Not to mention the subtler issues that start in the background then make their way into the foreground, like telekinesis and the cycle of troubled pasts found in the film through different characters. It’s a film that incites debate-from its plausibility to the timeline it sketches out. Plus, it’s pretty gutsy for an action movie like this to completely switch lanes and have the final hour mostly take place on a farm managed by a gun-toting and hard-shelled Emily Blunt, with her brilliant and disturbed child. Looper is dark, violent, frightening and, surprisingly, really funny-but above all this, it plays with your mind a little, leaving you unsure of what exactly happened. People will argue about it, for both good and bad reasons, and different theories can be made about what took place. That’s the beauty of it, it’s a rough film to digest but it is one that will leave you trying to piece it together. Comparisons to different sci-fi films are inevitable, but the first thing that pops to my mind when I watched it was the movie Inception, not because they’re that similar but because they both play with reality to a degree that leaves you unsure of whether or not you have the answers at all.

Overall Rating: A-

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