If you had read any of my posts at the beginning of the summer you know that Looper and Prometheus were the two films I have looked forward to most this summer. After leaving the midnight showing of Looper Thursday/Friday, I could not have asked for more. This movie has something for (in my opinion), the two kinds of movie fans going to see this movie: (1) the fans looking for kick ass action and (2) film philosophers looking for meaning in movies. Looper easily satisfies both and that is most attributable to the films’ writer/director Rian Johnson. He may not have a long resume but there is some evident quality over quantity with his films.
Now being the deep sci-fi, thriller that Looper is, it is tough to touch on everything without giving too much away. So here is a brief introduction: Set in 2044, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper, an assassin paid to kill anyone set back in time from 2074 by the mob in order to cover their tracks. Now one of the clauses to being a Looper is that your contract is only finished when they send back your future self for you to kill. This is called “closing your loop” which you do not know you did until you recover the payment sent back with the victim. However, being that Joe knows it is coming in 30 years, his future self (Bruce Willis) manages to escape in order to catch the person responsible for sending him back but present Joe needs to stop him so his superiors do not harm present Joe in the present. Here is the trailer:
The above summary may sound like enough to satisfy the regular action fan and it is. At its surface Looper is an exceptional action movie. It has got that classic Willis element of “I got my eye on a bad guy and I am going to spend the whole movie searching for him/her until I kill them.” So right off the bat if you are a Bruce Willis fan, this is right up your alley. Looper has cool advanced guns, advanced means of transportation, new addictive drugs, and telekinetic explosions to beef up the futuristic violence.
Then you have the deeper stuff that is the dilemma of the time travel aspect. There is the obvious what would happen if you met your future self? What would you ask them? That is something that a lot of previous time travel films avoid: the future self cannot meet the past self of time itself will unravel…. or whatever Christopher Lloyd says in Back to the Future. And the reason they are able to do that is Joe was expecting to someday see his future, he did not know when but knew that someday the day would come where he did. The final deeper issue is at the films conclusion of cyclical violence about the use of violence to stop further violence lead to more violence and you end up exactly where all the original violence began. I know I just used the word violence too much in that sentence but if you have seen this movie you know what I am talking about.
So all of this inner dilemma and action is attributable to the mind of Rian Johnson but it is executed so well because of some fantastic acting. Most impressive performance definitely has to go to Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I cannot even begin to imagine how many hours JGL must have spent looking in a mirror perfecting Bruce Willis’ facial mannerisms and voice. Now I now he has a prosthetic on to look more like Willis but he just nails that trademark smirk that we all know from Willis’ younger years. But even with the prosthetic on he is perfectly able to show his emotions. As I mentioned earlier, if you are a Bruce Willis fan then you know what to expect from him and he is at his ass-kicking best in this movie with some good dramatic bits as well. Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, and Paul Dano were also fantastic in their roles.
Looper is an intelligent sci-fi/action/thriller with a fair amount of comedy and drama. Easily ties for one of my favorite films of the year so far with Safety Not Guaranteed which coincidently features time travel as well. Trust me I really am not a big fan of time travel films, these are just two that I love that happen to come out in the same year. I give Looper a prestigious 10/10 rating.