Review: 'Looper' Makes Time Travel A Cool Experience
'Looper' is one of the coolest movie experiences this year. I wouldn’t even say “it’s a good movie,” simply defining it that way does it no justice. Plain and simple… it’s a badass flick! It's a unique science fiction/fantasy story containing an overdose of hardened drama with an edgy approach of gritty awesomeness. The film has one of the smartest scripts this year – It runs high on narrative with well balanced character presentation and overall detail. Coming off the heels of 'Brick' and 'The Brothers Bloom,' writer/director Rian Johnson kicks futuristic ass with 'Looper'.
In the future, time travel will be invented - but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a "looped" - a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) - is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good until the day the mob decides to "close the loop," sending back Joe's future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination.
Time travel is a fantasy concept with so many complex rules; it comes to a point where only those who write about it are the ones who know its drill. Most filmmakers who decide to go in that direction settle for common clichés and don't spend time carefully considering the implications of paradoxes. However, it gives me great pleasure to say that this is not the case with 'Looper.' Although Johnson's vision of time travel cannot be said to be any more "realistic" than any other, it feels that way. It’s unique. There are rules that the screenplay does not violate. If anything, it doesn't resort to common "twists" that have become so boring, predictable, and common that they are no longer surprising.
Looper's time travel back-story is open and detailed for a sense of likelihood. It offers well-developed characters, plenty of action and suspense, a harsh sequence of bloody mayhem, moral ambiguity, and an ending that does not disappoint. It is intellectually satisfying and high on emotional power.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as an actor, has been growing with each performance. Despite being smeared with face prosthetics to appear more like Bruce Willis, his performance power is just tight. JGL’s ability and range continue to rise – no pun – and impress. The role of “Joe” was not an easy one. It required him to spend a majority of the film as the “anti-hero.” And for good reason – he is a cold-blooded assassin, and a good one. However, sympathy-for-the-bad-guy erupts as a connection with him develops as the growth for his nobility presents more than expected.
This is Gordon-Levitt's film; however, Willis' role, although small, is crucial and so well played. Bruce Willis deserves much respect for his role. Willis' performance in 'Looper' is dramatic, but he gets that usual opportunity to kick ass, and do it in a big way. One of the great strengths of the film is that it gives Willis, like Gordon-Levitt, various opportunities to shine bright, yet, hard! He’s not only given action sequences, but scenes of intense dramatic power.
The rest of the cast is comprised of supporting actors doing good work, and never outdoing anything their characters are supposed to. They vary from a few scenes (Paul Dano) to an important chunk of length (Emily Blunt). I can’t recall a poor performance – especially from Jeff Daniels as the head of the syndicate and Piper Perabo as a sympathetic hooker.
Overall, as your viewing pleasure “closes the loop,” without question much of what’s presented will live within your system and pique thoughts of what it would be like if time travel did exist, and what your future self would be like in terms of his/her humanistic approach among the world as a whole.
Grade: A / Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller / Rated: R / Run Time: 2 Hrs.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels, Noah Segan
Director: Rian Johnson
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