The honest review of Rian Johnson’s Looper is a refreshingly different type of film. Above all, it poses several interesting questions on choices we make in our lives. In other words, the consequences of our actions. Review of Looper, 15 cert, 118 min. Dir Rian Johnson; starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano
Set in a future dystopian world, the film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick, Inception) as Joe. A less then upstanding member of society who has been given the opportunity to be a looper.
A looper is a unique assassin who at a duly appointed time and place disposes of undesirable individuals. The unfortunates who have been transported back in time, against their will. Future criminal organisations use this basic and brutal method for the reason which is explained at the beginning in a monologue by Joe. Because, he tells us that in the future, it is virtually impossible to dispose of a body. So criminal elements send these victims back in time for “Disposal”. The reward for all this is a bounty of silver bars strapped to the victims back.
The characters of the “Loopers” are short sighted to say the least. Because, at a certain time in the future all loops must be closed. This is where loopers future selves are sent back and executed by their present selves. After that,they are paid for this with gold bars strapped to the victims back, and 30 years which to spend it. After the 30 years are up future criminals will come to send them back in time to be killed and that’s that.
Joe’s problems begin when he starts to notice more and more loops are being closed. This naturally causes Joe to feel a little threatened. In addition, this all comes to a head when his future self, played by Bruce Willis (Die Hard, 12 Monkeys) is sent back but doesn’t play by the rules.
This begins a chain of events which spiral completely out of control and involves questions of value, self-worth and sacrifice. Morality issues also rear their head and lead to Joe and future Joe attempting to change the future fate of themselves in completely different ways.
Any movie dealing with time-travel is always running on razor thin line. Above all. the movie attempts to deal with this in a scene at a café. Joe and Future Joe talk about Time-travel being complicated and how it doesn’t matter how it works.
And there in effect is the problem. Movies which use time-travel as a plot device must be very careful not to take liberties with it. They must establish the rules and stick by them.
Overall, this film is a quirky, fun and enjoyable 118 mins which never outstays it’s welcome. The supporting cast of Jeff Daniels,Emily Blunt and Paul Dano help to convince the viewer of the value of the concept and the look and style of the world is convincing. Most importantly, the convincing special effects are kept to a minimum. Those which are employed help the audience believe in the world and the characters in it.
Bruce Willis is an acquired taste, but to be fair he does a good job. However, believing that Gordon-Levitt and Willis are the same person is a little optimistic. This fun little time travel movie is well worth a view. The always excellent Jeff Daniels provides some high points due to his little chats with Gordon-Levitt.
Emily Blunt’s performance helps sell this movie and her connection with Gordon-Levitt also makes the situation a little more believable.
The issues the characters must deal with, such as addiction, loss and fear are all displayed and delivered convincingly. The selfish nature of the two characters fits well because of the self-obsessed short-sighted nature of the world they inhabit.
In conclusion, I would recommend this film to anyone who loves sci-fi and wants to see something a little different. Gordon-Levitt and Blunts outstanding performances make the film, while Willis gives one of his best displays since 12 monkeys, a film which bears some similarity in style to this one.
Some Useful Links to Watch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZn8yGoGynY https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-reviews/looper-93985/ https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/looper-2012 https://film.avclub.com/looper-1798174341