What would you do if you confronted your older self via time travel? Now, if you met your older self via time travel, what would you do if it was your job to assassinate your older self? That is the choice Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception) has to make when he meets himself (Bruce Willis of The Sixth Sense) in Looper (2012), directed by Rian Johnson (Brick). The film is currently second in the box office ($21.2 million) in its opening weekend.
The film is set in 2044, thirty years before time travel is created and quickly outlawed. However, crime syndicates continue to illegally use time travel to send their adversaries back in time (with a bag over their heads and hands tied behind their backs) to be quickly assassinated by a group of killers called Loopers. After thirty years, if a Looper is still alive, he is sent back in time to be assassinated by his former self, thus closing out his contract and “closing his loop”. His identity is hidden until after he is murdered, when the Looper discovers a small fortune tied to his back instead of the normal take for his services.
Clearly, Young Joe’s (Gordon-Levitt) older self (Willis) did not follow protocol.
He shows up without a bag over his head and, in Young Joe’s hesitation, escapes. He then begins a mission to hunt down and murder the crime lord known as the Rainmaker in order to save the life of the woman he married. Young Joe, however, finds himself on a race for his life. Looper’s who do not close their loop are subject to explicit mutilation before they are eventually killed.
To keep from giving too much away, I’ll get into how this film made me feel. I remember sitting in the theater next to my friend in complete silence. I haven’t been awed by a film this much since Inception (2010). The story is brilliantly mapped out and virtually flawless. You are taken on two different thrill rides with our two main characters and are kept guessing until the very end.
The acting was extremely well-done in a film where action could have easily deemed it unnecessary. Gordon-Levitt (as always) proves to be capable of taking on any type of role given to him. The prosthetics aside (he was made to look like a young Bruce Willis), he managed to staple down many facial expressions, bodily gestures, and inflections that Willis is trademarked to use. If I didn’t know it was Joseph Gordon-Levitt under there, I would have been hard-pressed to figure it out. Willis also brings a humanity to his character that I don’t think people notice from him. I think he’s an excellent actor, and he does a stand up job in this film. Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) also has a beautifully done (and quite central) role in this film.
Rian Johnson is overlooked sometimes in the film industry. I believe his work has always been extremely intriguing and always leaves the mind reeling. This film is no different. His direction adds to the already solid script that has been presented before us. He draws the viewer in from the word “go” and doesn’t release us until the credits role.
There’s quite a lovely twist in this film as well. I debated against hinting to it earlier in this review, but decided against it. It would be cruel of me to take that away from you. I’ll let you be pleasantly surprised when you go out and watch this film as soon as humanly possible. You will not be disappointed by the brilliance of Looper. Show times can be found here.
Little Rock Movie Examiner’s rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars
MPAA rating: R
Minimum Age Group: 17+
Sexuality: sensuality, nudity, innuendos, scenes in a gentlemen’s club
Language: explicit language
Drugs/Alcohol: drinking, futuristic drug reminiscent of cocaine, smoking
Violence: central theme of the movie deals with murder, implied murder of a child, graphic violence including gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, etc.
Themes/Issues: Time travel, prostitution, gangs, murder, drugs
Similar titles coming out soon: Taken 2 (October 5), Cloud Atlas (October 26), Skyfall (November 9)
Other films you may like: Minority Report (2002) , I, Robot (2004) , Brick (2005) , Inception (2010)