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Film Review: Looper

17th October 2012

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In Looper, director Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) has created a film that is memorable and worthy of a place next to the sci-fi greats.The journey that Looper takes us on is certainly one that everyone should take: it leads us down a new path into the complex world of science fiction. Complex being an understatement with Looper...

In the year 2074, bodies are almost impossible to get rid of because of a tagging system. This means that the Mob has to use time travel to send back their undesirables to the year 2044, where assassins known as Loopers will be waiting to quickly murder the target and get rid of the body. In the future, time travel is so illegal that the Mob has to eventually send back the Looper’s future self to be killed; this is called closing the ‘loop’. Joe, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises, 500 days of Summer) is a Looper and the film’s protagonist. He soon runs into a whole lot of confusing trouble when the future version of himself is sent back, played by Bruce Willis.

Yes, it’s one of those films. You’re going to have to concentrate and perhaps even mull it over in your head for an hour or two after seeing it, however, apart from small annoying loop holes, it’s a well thought through film. This is of course if you suspend most of your logic for large periods of the Looper experience - but then again which time travel film can honestly say that they’ve got it all right? I assume your mind flashes to the most famous Back to the Future? A great film but it has an almost incomprehensible time travel theory. They have to be taken with a pinch of salt and Looper is no different.

However, the flaws in the story line are overshadowed by the performances of the cast, which are all excellent. Levitt, who I wouldn’t have expected to be cast as a younger version of Bruce Willis, has the old action star’s mannerisms perfected. Apparently, the rising actor watched a multitude of films featuring Willis before starting on Looper. He also has a prosthetic nose to make him look even more like the aging action hero. Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau), the love interest, plays a tough single mother who slightly softens the extremely dark atmosphere that the Looper world creates. This is, after all more of an emotional film and a look into human nature than an ignoble action fest. However, we still get to see some seriously cool action-induced scenes featuring Willis holding two machine guns. There's no doubt that the director wanted to give us a taste of 'classic Bruce'. So, if Michael Bay’s Sci-Fi films are more your cup of tea, you won’t be disappointed by what Looper has to offer. Although the action is well suited in the moments it appears, Looper is not an action film. It is much more than that and is the reason why it has been compared so heavily to The Matrix, which was also an intelligent film with a clever mix of remarkably violent scenes.

It’s rare to see a Sci-Fi film so intricate and thought provoking which isn’t based on a book. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was loosely built up from Philip K. Dick’s novel Do android dream of electric sheep? and Franklin Schaffner’s Planet of the Apes had its foundations laid out in the novel by Pierre Boulle. So, it’s a huge credit to a director who not only manages to create something that is cinematically beautiful but also creates a world that can live beyond the film. This is the best of the best at the moment, so if you’re ready to see something original and fresh, I suggest you go to see Looper now before time runs out.


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