I had deliberately stayed away from finding out anything about Looper, which is kind of difficult when you follow Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Facebook and Twitter, but I managed to avoid all trailers and was only subjected to one photo that intrigued me, the one of Joseph G-L and Rian Johnson at the premier of Brick, and then Looper 7 years later. I knew it was about time-travel and I knew it had JGL. I didn’t need to build my hopes up even more. What more does one need to know anyway?
But unlike me, you must want to know a bit more because you’re reading this, so I’m going to give you the voiceover for the first 5 seconds, and a bit of paraphrasing of the next 60 seconds of the film.
In the year 2044, time travel has not yet been invented. But in 30 years, it will have been.
Despite the invention of time-travel, it’s highly illegal and only available on the black market. But when the mob in the future want to get rid of someone, they send them back to the past. That’s where Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) comes in. He’s one of many specialized assassins called loopers. Joe’s paid well and lives the good life. Until the mob decide to send back his future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination.
Let’s start with the most obvious compliment: the outstanding performance from Willis, Gordon-Levit, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano and Pierce Gagnon. I wouldn’t expect any less from most of them, but was blown away by Gagnon, who must be about 10 years old and played his character, Cid, like a seasoned professional. He somehow managed to be ridiculously cute and equally scary at the same time. He’s played a couple of small scale roles and is a regular on One Tree Hill, but this kid is one to watch.
Writer and director, Rian Johnson, is an absolute genius. Looper is so intelligently written, with a complex narrative. But not so elaborate that you feel lost, but just enough to leave you guessing, and emotionally torn between how things could end happily-ever-after, or even if that’s actually how you want it to end. The story draws on some of the ideas of Terminator, but with a more thought-provoking outcome, think The Matrix or Inception. Those are some pretty big name films I’m comparing Looper to, and I’m more than happy to do so.
Although Willis gets his hands on some guns through the film, it’s never overdone and has just the right of action to make it exciting, but not enough to switch off and start thinking about what to cook for dinner _ yes, that’s actually what females think about during most action scenes. There’s a bit of a romance, sci-fi and even subtle comedy to entertain just about anyone.
I did find one potential tiny hole in the storyline, but I’ll keep it to myself in case there is a logical answer. My one other ridiculously small complaint would be Gordon-Levitt’s makeup and prosthetics. In order to make him look like a younger version of Willis, they had to do a bit of tweaking to his face, which I found a bit off-putting and distracting, as I kept trying to figure out what they had done to make him look so different. Having said that, they did a great job at transforming into a younger, better looking Willis, and maybe if I hadn’t spent hours of my teenage years staring into Gordon-Levitt’s eyes in 10 Things I Hate About You, I wouldn’t know the exact shape of his nose and the hue of his eyes.
Looper is an original and engaging film with all the ingredients for a film that will become a staple addition to many DVD shelves, but I suggest seeing it on the big screen long before it hits your local video store.
Reviewed by: Nerice Collins