Rated – R
Directed by Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt
Rian Johnson is a name that has flown under the radar for quite some time now, but after his latest feature film, his name should be one to be recognized. With films like Brick and The Brothers Bloom already on his resume, you know that Johnson is a DIY type of person, penning the screenplays and directing the films to his liking. Now with Looper as his third film, he’s shown his versatility to the greatest extent.
The film is set in Kansas in the year 2044. Time travel hasn’t been invented yet but it will be invented soon and immediately be illegal. But in the future, there is a tracking technology that stops murders from happening, so the mob uses a method that can prevent the murders from being detected: send a victim back in time to be killed and disposed of. These assassins are called “loopers” and our protagonist, Joe (Gordon-Levitt), is one of them.
As a “looper” you’re paid very handsomely and understand you will eventually close your loop by executing your-future-self. After that’s done, you’re looping days are done and you can live off of your silver and gold for the next thirty years. But when Joe’s about to close his loop, Future-Joe (Willis) escapes. This is a no-no and a hunt-and-kill mission takes over the movie.
To avoid spoilers, I’ll have to end my synopsis there, but know that there are miles of story-telling after the simple premise. What I was so surprised about was how easy it was to follow a story about time traveling. Johnson does an impeccable job at keeping everything simple, even if he does cop out on some intriguing questions. The story unfolds while expecting the audience to accept what’s happening for what it is, and because of the fast pace you really have no choice but to go for the ride.
Looper is a plot-heavy, sci-fi thriller, which leaves the acting to a minimum. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great, struggling with drugs and dealing with the dilemma of killing his future self. His chemistry with Emily Blunt is evident during their scenes, which dominates the second half of the film. Meanwhile, Bruce Willis didn’t have much weight in the film, aside from some kick-ass moments of channeling his action-hero self.
If there is a complaint, I’d say that things wrap up a bit too neatly at the end. With a film of this complexity and with plenty of ideas floating around, there wasn’t much for the audience to ponder about during nor after the film. That’s what really separates it from other sci-fi greats.