Being a huge fan of both writer/director Rian Johnson and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt it was hard to not cultivate stratospheric expectations of what they could do with Looper's great Sci-fi premise. Yet after silently soaking in this intelligent and intense unravelling enigma - it's staggering to realise just how good it is. It’s 2072 and 30 years into the future the mob are using highly illegal time travel technology to send people into the past to have them killed and disposed of (as it’s almost impossible in their time). The mob’s assassins in the present are called ‘Loopers’. When the mob starts to shut down their operation Joe’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt aka JGL) future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back to be killed. When old Joe (Willis) escapes, young Joe (JGL) has to hunt his future self and close his ‘Loop’.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the great directorial resume of writer/director, Rian Johnson he’s responsible for Brick (a brilliant 50s detective Noir set in a modern high school – starring Gordon Levitt) and crime caper The Brother’s Bloom (starring Adrian Brody and Mark Ruffalo). In his most ambitious effort yet Looper honours and references sci-fi tenets and themes that are perennial in the genre and mixes them into a potent cocktail that feels like a Sci-Fi rocket fuel. Despite a textured future landscape it’s not overbearing, and thematic complexity Looper you don’t need a pamphlet to explain what’s going on; it’s is instantly digestible. Stylistically, Johnson’s direction peppers the film with iconic visual signposts that stay with you long after viewing. The consistently smashing performances are a testament to his auteuring of the entire project.
JGL effortlessly embodies the familiar brash youth of a young Willis and thanks to some amazing prosthetics it makes it aesthetically believable. JGL embraces his flawed character and it perfectly complements his clinical older self. There’s a subtlety in his performance that almost disguises that he’s impersonating Willis’ speech patterns etc. It’s going to be more impressive on repeat viewings.
Willis delivers one of the most sincere and committed performances of his veteran career. He does a great job being critical of his past stupidities and balances that with the darkness of a seasoned killer, who’s light and optimism is all but extinguished.
Support from Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels is solid but it’s Emily Blunt’s tough yet emotionally fragile Sara that joins a lineage of incredible Sci-Fi matriarchs.
Looper is a triumph. Johnson and his great cast crafted an explosive series of escalating ‘holy-shit’ moments that will render any blubbering sci-fi fan speechless.
Dirtected by: Rian Johnson
Written by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano, Piper Peralbo
[rating=4] and a half
Looper is released in Australia on the 27th of September 2012
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