Rian Johnson’s 2012 sci-fi thriller Looper may not exactly be under appreciated, as it is definitely a critical favorite, not to mention that it played a big part in him landing the job directing Star Wars: Episode VIII. Though it certainly performed better than many films on this list at the box office, it’s still definitely left of the mainstream. Looper weaves together multiple timelines, spanning futuristic eras, and even spins a single character into two distinct personalities. In 2044 Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a specialized futuristic hitman, a looper, who assassinates targets sent back from 2074. When his future self (Bruce Willis) materializes as his next victim, he balks, kicking off a taut, twisted, multi-layered story full of fast-paced action and fantastic performances all around. There’s even a telekinesis thread thrown in for good measure.
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and there are so many more films that could possibly fill space on this list. I’ve already written about Edge of Tomorrow a bunch of times recently, but the Groundhog’s Day-with-aliens actioner was almost criminally under seen when it dropped last summer. I don’t know that either Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure or Bogus Journey are underappreciated, but any list I make of time travel movies wouldn’t be complete without them. Terry Gilliam is not exactly a director whose films fly under the radar, but Time Bandits is definitely one that, over the years, doesn’t get as much love as it should. It’s also hard to go wrong watching H.G. Wells chase Jack the Ripper into 1979 San Francisco in Time After Time, or Timerider, with Fred Ward as a hot-shot motorcycle rider hurled back into the old west.
Are there any underappreciated, ignored, or forgotten time travel gems that you particularly love? Sound off below, and go see Predestination when it opens later this week.