Breaking the Loop Image

Breaking the Loop

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | November 17, 2023

I love regional indie movies, especially horror and science fiction. It is fun to see motion pictures come from places outside of New York and Hollywood, and, like regional foods, these productions carry flavors unique to where they were shot. Breaking the Loop is as steeped in Texas flavor as the famous barbecue served in Lockhart, where it was shot. Robert Wynne’s excellent cinematography frames the gorgeous rugged beauty of the hill country with the rust-flecked pickup truck infrastructure of life out there. I recognize the Texas Wynne shoots as true, as I lived there many years and still go back to the Groesbeck Triangle (where they hide the really good barbecue). 

The iconic Texas imagery is matched by the film’s moral structure, which reflects the values of the state. There are religious references, pro-life standpoints are displayed, and everyone constantly needs a gun. None of this gets in the way of Moody’s well-paced screenplay, just like the smoke brisket didn’t taste different after forced birth was made mandatory in the state. Some audiences may even like this, as it has been a while since the Dirty Harry pictures set the tone of civic relations for U.S. cinema.

“…wilder and woolier than the usual low calorie coastal science fiction.”

Also, don’t count out Texas’ renegade nature, as the movie smokes a little pot and goes a little queer in places. It is also its Texas character that makes Breaking the Loop wilder and woolier than the usual low-calorie coastal science fiction. There is a reason why the world’s favorite chainsaw massacre didn’t take place in Burbank. So, for better and worse, Moody’s sci-fi tale is so Texas that its title card image may as well be a giant cosmic belt buckle.

The filmmaker wears all the hats in this picture. Besides writing, directing, producing, and starring, he also edited and composed the score for the flick. His efforts here are so successful because he starts with a damn clever script. Moody employs a lean storytelling style that will drop hints but never oversell, using lots of visual narrative instead of expository dialogue. The layers he puts into the paradox structure here are impressive, as is how the set-up allowed him to pull this off with a low budget. 

The wormhole itself looks excellent; very pretty tear in the sky. What Breaking the Loop lacks in sci-fi visuals outside the BMX jumps through time, it makes up for in gritty action sequences. The make-up effects look painful, and because we are in Texas, everyone gets hurt all that much more. Torbert wears his pain like kings wear crowns; he is an action monster here. Ard and Astrea do a great job with some very well-executed dramatics. Moody completely nails the beaten down, a broke guy living on the edge, a character there needs to be more of in cinema. He is identifiable, believable, and easy to root for, as he has less than nothing. The production only had two dimes to rub together but created a science fiction spark that would knock a hole in the screen.

For more information, visit the Breaking the Loop official website. Breaking the Loop is a 2023 Award This! Indie Sci-Fi nominee.

Breaking the Loop (2022)

Directed and Written: Joel Moody

Starring: Joel Moody, Antuone Torbert, Stephanie Ard, Summer Astrea, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Breaking the Loop Image

"…created a science fiction spark that would knock a hole in the screen."

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