DIRECTOR: Rian Johnson
STARRING: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt
Looper is a futuristic action/thriller which displays a perfect mix of style, heart and brains.
The year is 2044, 30 years in the future time travel is invented. Although immediately its use is made illegal, criminals find it an effective way to remove someone without leaving evidence. A prosthetically altered Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Joe, a Looper, a man hired to execute and dispose of people sent back from the future. The job also comes with the condition that at some point you must kill your future self, called closing your loop, thus ensuring you cannot be a liability to your employer and netting the Looper a big payoff. Ironically the men whose work comes from the future are not very forward thinking. However, when the older Joe, played by Bruce Willis manages to get the drop on his younger self, his resulting escape makes young Joe a hunted man while he must simultaneously track down his older self.
The film sets up its laws of time travel and doesn’t worry about the inevitable flaws and paradoxes and instead focuses on the characters and the unique questions that can be asked in world of Loopers. Although the film contains numerous shootouts and doesn’t shy away from violence, people expecting a non-stop action film (as the trailer suggests) will be disappointed, especially when the pace slows down when the young Joe meets the strong young mother played by Emily Blunt. This however isn’t a negative for the film, as it leads to unexpected moments, some touching and some shocking, which really make this film stand out.
It is Writer/Director Rian Johnson’s third film, after coming to people’s attention with high school film-noir Brick (also starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and quirky con film The Brothers Bloom. Looper comes with characteristic style and originality, with creative and explicit direction well suited for the ambitious film.
With modern CGI it may seem strange to have two actors play the same person, even with a 30 year age gap, but it is to the films credit as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brue Willis are both superb with the choice complimenting the themes of the movie. There are also strong performances from the supporting cast including Jeff Daniels as the cynical boss sent back to look after the Loopers.
Looper is full of style and intelligence but at its core Rian Johnson tells a story clearly and tells it well. This film shows that Hollywood is not completely out of new ideas and this breath of fresh air sets itself apart as not only one of the coolest but one of the best films of the year.