As a movie geek, I have been looking forward to Looper for a damn long time. The combo of writer/director Rian Johnson and lead actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt combined to make Brick, a lower-budgeted film that I really liked, and was also the first thing I had seen from Gordon-Levitt is a long time, and first thing anyone ever really saw from Johnson. It has been a good couple years since Brick was made (2005), and since then, Johnson wrote and directed The Brothers Bloom to okay success, and after a few years of more indie films, Gordon-Levitt exploded onto the scene in 2009, and has been one of the most blockbuster prolific actors since. His face was a perfect one to work again with Johnson and bring his biggest budgeted film to theaters yet. And with a lot of hype of promotion, it has opened to great success at the box offices and critics.
In Looper, Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a hired gun for the mafia. Only things are a bit different in the year 2042, the setting of the film. 30 years in the future, in 2072, the mafia sends the guys they want dead into the past, where Joe kills them. When things start to get a little curious in the business, Joe finds himself face to face with his future self, played by Bruce Willis, sent back in time to get murdered by himself, only that doesn’t happen. The future Joe escapes, and the entire organization is now on the hunt to kill them both.
The premise of the film seems really complex and confusing, and this is always the case when dealing with time travel, but I can assure you that the plot is two things: 1) The film really isn’t hard to follow or understand. There are some possible holes you could poke in the factual side of the time travelling aspect, but Johnson has written a very specific future and ability, and it is solid and believable. 2) The film is much more in depth than the summary listed above. The trailers and plot summaries don’t tell you all you need to know, because that ruins the fun. The plot and it’s elements are really a surprise, and everyone should experience the unexpected ideas in this film.
One really cool thing that was achieved in the film was the make-up used on Gordon-Levitt to make him look like a younger Willis. I don’t know if it was only make-up and not any special effects, but I do know that it looked damn good, it was almost scary. The photo below is a good preview.
The best thing about the film is the idea and the story. It is something I have never seen before, especially the specifics of the plot, which I won’t give away. All of the technical aspects are up to par, the acting, the direction, etc., and the film is really very intriguing and fun. As the screen fades to black and the credits roll, I found myself thoroughly satisfied, yet I feel like the movie didn’t really have the weight I think it should have. The subject matter is violent and dire, but it didn’t have the weight I think it needed to really hit you, and I’m not sure why. Because of this fact, I can’t really give it the high praise I want to. Maybe someone or something will explain this train of thought I have and hopefully confirm or deny that my thought has any weight of it’s own. Regardless, this was a really good movie, and I’m glad I saw it in theaters.
3/4 – Looper is a time-travel sci-fi in which Rian Johnson brings a lot more to the table than previews and plot summaries lead on, and the film, while not exactly what you’d expect, is a great production of an awesome story idea.