Looper – Movie Review
Director: Rian Johnson
Writers: Rian Johnson
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels
I adore well-done time travel stories. When I was twelve or thirteen, my dad gave me a book of classic time travel stories by Murray Leinster–I was hooked for life.
Looper is a classic science fiction time travel story, yet it’s handled in new and original ways. Time travel exists (or it will thirty years in the future), but once it is invented, it is immediately outlawed. So the only people with access to it are, of course, criminals. People who come back from the future and meet themselves–well, that doesn’t go the same way you’d expect, either. Once a looper comes back from the future–his past is malleable. He is from one possible future . . . as memories of his life become more distant, and more unlikely to occur, they’re harder to remember. Jeez, theories of time travel make my head hurt.
The film takes place primarily in the “now” of 2044, in a depressed area of Kansas. For the poor, things are bad, while those with money are quick to defend themselves with deadly force. Money can still buy whatever you want. Some people have even developed telekinetic powers, but the powers aren’t good for much more than parlor tricks.
There are scenes from the flip side, too–set in the future where time travel actually exists, so you can see what the fuss is about.
Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), like other young men with limited education, was recruited to be a looper–a lucrative job that deliberately requires no special skills and a distinct lack of morals. He lives like a rock star, with a hard partying life-style. One who occasionally kills people.
The ending was unexpected, and absolutely awesome.
Looper has a distinct retro feel to most of the visuals. Other than some of the luxury goods (there’s an amazing-looking motorcycle, and the run-down public library looks a bit different), it could have been set fifty or eighty years in the past rather than in the future. The prevalence of smoking aided in this–I’d like to think that by the time another thirty years goes by, fewer young people will be smoking.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe the Looper, and Bruce Willis, also as Joe, thirty years older, both give strong performances. They play off each other well enough to keep you engaged through the whole film. Emily Blunt (Sara) is convincing as a devoted mother, accent and all. The supporting cast is strong, but really, this is Joe’s story.
The only thing that really didn’t ring true was the relationship between Joe and Sara. It’s possible to bring two people together and toss them into bed when they barely know each other and have it work–just look at Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese in The Terminator–but the chemistry here was lacking. A few more scenes together might have helped, but I’m quibbling. It didn’t hurt my enjoyment of the film any.
Overall, an immensely satisfying tale of how a man can change himself . . . and his future.
Reviewed by Elektra Hammond
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Looper - Movie Review
Once a looper comes back from the future–his past is malleable. He is from one possible future . . . as memories of his life become more distant, and more unlikely to occur, they’re harder to remember. Jeez, theories of time travel make my head hurt.