Rian Johnson‘s stunning sci-fi thriller “Looper”, starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, takes moviegoers once again back to the future.
Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a contract killer, better known as a Looper, working in 2044 Kansas City. Time travel has yet to be invented, but that comes a mere 30 years later in 2074, where it’s almost instantaneously outlawed and relegated to the mob. Following the mob’s cues, Joe’s job is simple – get rid of “targets” as they’re sent back in time to 2044. After a half dozen or so kill shots we realize there’s more to Joe’s job than meets the eye, as Loopers are aware that, at some point, they’ll be tasked with “closing their loop” – that is, killing the future version of themselves. “This job doesn’t tend to attract the most forward-thinking people,” quips Joe as he’s explaining the whole premise.
Of course, as you’ve seen in the previews, this is precisely what happens to Joe when he comes face to face with his future self, stunned just long enough for old Joe to escape. Which prompts a whole new chain of events, where mob boss (for lack of a better term) Abe (Jeff Daniels) begins to chase down both versions of Joe, afraid their actions will adversely affect the future from which he comes.
Sound confusing? Well, on screen it’s much clearer as director Rian Johnson does what few filmmakers take the time to do these days – thinks things through. He stopped to consider the implications and ramifications of time travel, and made a clear point that time isn’t linear, but rather circular. That progressions and regressions affect and alter one another. I know it sounds deep, but it’s translated crystal clear thanks to Johnson’s beautiful storytelling.
The film exists in this magical intersection of present and future. And in the mixture of all that follows there’s a farmer (Emily Blunt) and a little boy (Pierce Gagnon) significantly caught up in a main storyline that’s complicated to explain without giving too much away. However, it is worth noting, if there’s one breakout star in this movie, it’s Gagnon. He steals almost every scene he’s in and puts forth a dynamic range of emotions and abilities that many older actors should envy. That and he’s simply adorable.
I dare not reveal any more of this film, as character decisions and developments play an essential part in the film, and I wouldn’t want you to have preconceived notions of what’s taking place.
The verdict: I can’t encourage you enough to see this movie in theaters. At its roots lies a tremendously creative story that succeeds on the strength of its thoughtful performances as it uniquely explores time travel in relation to human psychology and entertains throughout.
Opened: September 28, 2012
Director: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt and Pierce Gagnon