Jan 12, 2013

Movie Review: Looper

Time Travel is invented in the year 2074 and immediately outlawed. When you outlaw time travel, only outlaws will have time travel. Criminal organizations in 2074 zap targets back to 2044 where assassins known as loopers shoot them at point-blank range and collect silver for the deed. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) uses his money to get high and frequent brothels, but the real trip occurs when Joe's future self (Bruce Willis) is his target and gets away.

The casting was terrific in this film. Bruce Willis is a merciless killing machine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a flawed hero, and even side characters like Sarah (Emily Blunt) and Cid (Pierce Gagnon) perfectly come across as sympathetic bystanders holding onto their own secrets. There wasn't a single bad casting choice, although while Kid Blue (Noah Segan) was always recognizable when given the camera's full attention, he blended in a little too well with all of his co-workers in group scenes. That's more of a costume flaw in my mind than a casting flaw, but given the character's background, I can also see the motivation behind his uniformity.

Some in my social circle have criticized the wild sci-fi plot as too hard to follow and when combined with the two hour run-time, resulted in a thrill to fall asleep to. I didn't get that impression at all, being fully engrossed for the entire two hours and followed the story with ease. Admittedly, the time travel plot structure is hard to wrap your head around, but they make every attempt in this film to not over-complicate it. This is done primarily by not answering Joseph Gordon-Levitt's inquiries about how it works, sniping "it doesn't matter" and "it'll fry your brain like an egg." Everything you need to know in order to follow the story is in the noir narration in the first ten minutes of the film, and by watching the ten minutes involving Joe's friend Seth (Paul Dano).

This a definite thinking-man's thriller more than an action movie, but there are some amazing action scenes such as the shoot-out in young-Joe's apartment and when old-Joe seeks his revenge. All of my favorite scenes however other than the shoot-out in young-Joe's apartment come in the second half of the film and revolve around the character, Cid. As good as Joseph Gordon-Levitt was, Pierce Gagnon stole the movie in my mind. On first watch I had mixed feelings about how Looper ends, but as I sat back and digested it I realized it was pretty much the perfect ending. Overall rating...

5 / 5

images from Amazon and popsci.com