Cert: 15 Runtime: 118 mins Director: Rian Johnson Starring: Joesph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Pierce Gagnon and Jeff Daniels
Loopers are well paid, they lead a good life…
Rian Johnson isn’t a very well known director, Brick is is most well known film. I know what you are gonna say now, what is Brick? Well my friends check it out and get back to me. Joseph Gordon-Levitt features in Brick and now Looper, Johnson wrote the role of Joe especially for JGL. So what is Looper exactly?Looper is set in the year 2044, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one of several mafia-employed assassins known as ‘loopers’ who are tasked with ‘taking out the future’s garbage’. The targets are delivered from 30 years in the future to a waiting looper, who puts a bullet in their head, burns the body and collects their earnings. Loopers are well paid, but when the bosses decide it’s time to ‘close the loop’ and they send back your own future self back for assassination, leaving you with only 30 years to live. Later in the film Joe’s loop is to be closed, but his older self (Bruce Willis) escapes, which is very bad news, bringing the mafia on the hunt to kill both Joe’s. That’s all you can really say about it otherwise it will spoil the movie.You are bound to know all of this from the trailer, so I am playing it safe. But this won’t stop me from discussing this dynamic sci fi/western movie. This truly is a fresh piece of cinema in my eyes and possibly the best since Moon.
Johnson does create a very realistic world where he has narrated a grand story. He makes sure that the viewer understands the lives of loopers and what has happened to earth in 2044. And while it sometimes teeters on being overly exposition heavy, Johnson does himself a couple of favors that keeps things moving and highly engaging. The first is giving the film a bit of a noir touch, provided by a sardonic voiceover by Joe who acts as a guide of sorts in the opening stages of the movie. The second is populating the edges with strong actors in smaller, but key roles with Paul Dano, Noah Segan and Garret Dilahunt giving weight, depth and dimension to seemingly inconsequential characters. And no, I didn’t forget Emily Blunt, but we can’t really talk about her co-starring role without massive spoilers but needless to say, she’s solid and hot. A few issues I have with Johnson is there are only a few action scenes, most of which are basic chases on foot and gun fight set pieces. Some do pack a punch especially when Willis is involved but on the whole they are not anything special. The dialogue is beautiful, there’s a tiny sprinkle of dark humour and brings a very thought provoking dialogue.The time travel element is certainly imaginative, and well thought out to serve a fluctuating storyline that doesn’t trap itself in restrictive rules. I do find it has holes though but perhaps with a bit more thought on it and adding a time travel rule here and there, you might be able to fill those holes.
The direction is superb but another strength is the acting performances. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is the man at the moment, he has featured in so many films. His heavy make-up and prosthetics really looks like Bruce Willis and although this is really weird, it looks unnervingly good at times, especially closer up. Underneath the prosthetics though Gordon-Levitt delivers a fine performance, adopting a few of Willis’ mannerisms and accent. He appears strong and a confident lead role, carrying off a mixture of hard edged killer and caring young man. Bruce Willis is just Bruce Willis but we have seen this kind of performance from him many times before. Nevertheless he is on top form here. The chemistry between the two leads was great and really helped with the reality of them being one person. Emily Blunt was another actor who performed very well and in a departure from her more familiar roles. She adopts a convincing American accent, drops a few F-Bombs and looks comfortable holding a gun and chopping wood. She brings to the fore the feminine caring side when it matters though. Probably the standout actor though despite the three A Listers is Pierce Gagnon, a very young child actor who is incredible in a pivotal role. He and Gordon-Levitt have some funny and tense scenes together which work very well. You will fear this kid!Looper is all over the place—a series of barely aligned loop-de-loops—but if high-toned futuristic time-travel pictures with a splash of romance float your boat the way they do mine, you’ll have yourself a time. The climax is tumultuous, the payoff happy and sad in the right measure. The future might be ghastly, but heroism lives.