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Looper (2012)

Josh Reviews Looper

It’s always a great delight to see an original sci-fi film.  We were all excited for Prometheus this past summer, but while that big-budget, mega-hyped film was a dud (click here for my review), I was positively thrilled by Rian Johnson’s new film, Looper.

The year is 2044.  Time travel has not yet been invented, but it will be.  The mob of the future uses the outlawed technology of time-travel to dispose of people they want out of the way.  They just send them back in time, where a hit-man, called a Looper, is there waiting to shoot them as soon as they appear.  The Looper then disposes of the body, and all is well.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a Looper, Joe, whose careful life unravels when he fails to kill a target sent back from the future — who turns out to be himself, thirty years older (and played by Bruce Willis).  Joe’s mob bosses will kill him if he doesn’t kill his older self (“closing his loop”), so Young Joe sets out after Old Joe, who meanwhile has a plan to make a key change to his history.

It’s a delicious set-up, one that is only enhanced by the fantastic casting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as different-aged versions of the same character.  There’s some great prosthetic work that reshapes Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s face just slightly, to make him more resemble Bruce Willis.  (It’s particularly noticeable when you see him in profile.)  Both men are fantastic, and I loved watching the two of them go at it.  In particular, it’s great to see Bruce Willis in a bona-fide good action movie again.  The man is just awesome playing a bad-ass in an action movie, and he plays everything with just enough of a twinkle in his eye to keep the audience hooked into his performance.  One of my favorite aspects of the film was the way the story keeps shifting the audience’s sympathies back and forth between Young Joe and Old Joe.  It’s very clever.

Mr. Gordon-Levitt and Mr. Willis are far and away the anchors of the movie, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the high-wattage of the supporting cast.  Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano, Emily Blunt, Garret Dillahunt, Piper Perabo all do fantastic work in their roles.  Jeff Daniels in particular is great fun as the man sent from the future to run the Looper organization in the present-day.

For such a relatively low-budget film ($30 million dollars, from what I have read), the film looks dynamite.  From the trailers I expected the film to be set in present-day, but instead the film’s present-day is 2044, with the future era (when time-travel exists) 30 … [continued]