I’ve finally seen ‘Looper’ and man, I’ve gotta say I’m so relieved: the film held its own! Going in to see new sci-fi films is always nerve-wrecking, as so many of them are totally rubbish, but the ones that hold up often end up among my favourite films. The expectations for ‘Looper’ have steadily grown since the release of the first trailer, and seeing the positive reviews and feedback on IMDb and Letterboxd certainly hasn’t quelled them.
The plot of the film takes places in Kansas in 2044, where “loopers” – or assassins – such as Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are contracted by mobsters from 30 years into the future, where/when time-travel has been invented and disposing bodies is virtually impossible. The mobsters in 2074 send marked men back in time to 2044, to a specific location where a looper is waiting to blow his brains out. This may be a difficult concept to wrap your head around, but in the movie it’s actually laid out fairly simply. Anyway, this works really well for Joe until one day he finds a thirty years older version of himself (Bruce Willis) appearing in front of him to be killed. Sufficed to say, trouble arises.
The gritty world of 2044 felt real; the developers have (thankfully!) resisted the temptation to show off and make a flashy special effects showreel. The time-travel concept was lain out without making too much of a gradeschool lesson of it, and worked acceptably well under the premises.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s rise to fame has been interesting to follow. I remember him all the way back from’10 Things I Hate About You’ (1999), though he was overshadowed by the legendary Heath Ledger (and to be fair, who wouldn’t be). In ‘Mysterious Skin’ (2004) he really got to show the world what he’s made of, and anyone who’s seen that film will have a difficult time forgetting his performance. Over the last couple of years he’s appeared in several big productions that have ensured his talent will not pass unnoticed: ’50/50′, ‘Inception’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Now again with ‘Looper’, in a better Bruce Willis impression almost than Willis himself, he’s proved to the world that his fame is well-earned. To give the make-up department their due credit, the face prosthetics are really impressive, but JGL has the mannerisms and even the voice down to a tee.
It’s nice to see Bruce Willis has still got it in him too, though I must say, his age is beginning to show. He’s not struggling to keep up with the action yet, though. Emily Blunt (I spent a lot of time wondering if it was indeed her) also did a nice really nice job. They were both overshadowed by another talent though: the performance of young Pierce Gagnon, in the role of mysterious Cid. I have no idea how someone directs a kid in that kind of role, and those are some pretty heavy lines he has to give, but he’s really remarkable.
I’m not familiar with writer and director Rian Johnson, but I will be sure to keep an eye out for any upcoming projects of his!
What did you think of ‘Looper’?