In the highly imaginative and clever film “Looper” time travel exists in 2074. However, it is also illegal and only used by the mobs. And since tracking technology has made it impossible to dispose of a body in 2074, when the mobs want someone gone they send them back thirty years in the past to be disposed of. That’s when our hero Joe (Joseph Gordon Levitt) comes in. Joe is a Looper, an assassin paid by the mob to kill victims that are sent back in time. Loopers live an extremely lavish life, filled with a never ending supply of girls, drugs, and money. However when the contract is up, crime bosses send the future self of the Looper back in time to be killed by the younger self of the Looper, after that the Looper collects an unlimited amount of money and spends the next thirty years of his life doing whatever he wants before the bosses find him and send him back to be killed. When Joe finds the older version of himself (Bruce Willis) as his next target, chaos ensues as Old Joe tries to save the future by changing the past, and as Young Joe desperately tries to finish his target.
“Looper” was directed by Rian Johnson, who directed “The Brothers Bloom” and “Brick”, which also starred Joseph Gordon Levitt. This is Johnson’s best film yet, and he has truly established himself as one of the most creative and innovative up and coming directors right now. Just like Christopher Nolan did with “Inception”, Rian Johnson brought art-house depth and intellectuality to a popcorn science fiction movie. But, “Looper” is even a better science fiction film than “Inception”, since it didn’t get bogged down in details like the latter did, and it left room for character development.
One of the main highlights of “Looper” is the excellent performances of its two leads. Joseph Gordon Levitt perfectly plays a young Bruce Willis, and exudes charisma and presence. Bruce Willis further proves in this movie that he can simultaneously portray machismo and vulnerability better than any other movie star out there. In possibly the best scene in the film, when Old Joe and Young Joe meet at the diner, it’s thrilling to watch the two talented actors play off each other. With the beautiful writing and the sublime acting, the scene is a fantastic take on what would you do if you ever sat down and talked with your future self. Fantastic character actor Jeff Daniels steals every scene he’s in as a stoic mob boss.
Though “Looper” is easily one of the best movies of the year it still has its flaws. Emily Blunt is a bore as the mother of a future mob boss and Joseph Gordon Levitt’s love interest. The second half of the film has a jarring tonal shift and feels like a completely different movie altogether. In addition, as the film moves on, some of the originality is lost and similar things from other movies begin to pop up in this one. However “Looper” is still easily one of the most original films out this year, and it’s refreshing to see a science fiction film that not a remake, sequel, spinoff, reboot, or adaption of a toy series. “Looper” has wit and imagination and proves that writer/director Rian Johnson is a force to be reckoned with.
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