Looper (2012)


Film review by Jason Day of the science fiction film Looper starring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis. 

Science Fiction


In the future, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, they send them back in time to a desolate spot where a hitman waits to kill them. One day, that assassin is Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who finds out that his future self has been sent back for him to kill, leading to an original set of dilemmas.

Review, by Jason DayLooper Poster

In all honesty, hands held up, this is not a film to watch when you are looking in anticipation/expectation at the two blackberrys and iPhone resting on your lap. If you want to follow and enjoy Looper, don’t ever see it when you are ‘on call’.

Otherwise the experience is enough to make you feel you’ve been ‘looped’ yourself. Unceremoniously yanked out of the present-tense of the cinema by the phone ringing, I was suddenly dropped into the uncertain future of a semi-urgent enquiry, before rushing back to the present and catching up with the disorienting ramifications of a futuristic sci-fi narrative. It’s enough to make a reviewer go insane!

That’s not to say Looper is difficult to follow. The ingenuity behind Looper is that it is deceptively easy to digest…it’s just that the subtleties of a time-travel story are better appreciated on an uninterrupted viewing.

Believe what you’ve read in other reviews and the media, Looper stands head shoulders above other such action-thrillers and assertively holds its own ground.

If The Terminator led the charge of time-travel fiction in the 80’s and The Matrix in the 90’s, Looper can lay claim to nailing this genre today.

Movie man of the moment Gordon-Levitt appeared in director of the moment Christopher Nolan’s recent time-jump classic Inception and creepy Batman trilogy closer The Dark Knight Rises, but even the talented Nolan never gave him a role as good as this. The impetuous, drug-addicted younger incarnation of Bruce Willis’ mob enforcer is a grimy character to say the least.

Nolan also didn’t give him such a glorious prosthetic nose, making the otherwise cheeky-monkey-faced actor look like the spitting image of the hulking Willis. His cleverly aped mannerisms and movements (he must have grown up watching Willis movies and TV shows), help pin down his uncanny interpretation of Willis.

Of Willis, there could be no better choice for the jaded, chilled-out killer with a good choice in smart observations. For such an unremittingly morose film, where freedom of choice is a thing of the past the witty, masculine banter between these two and Jeff Daniels (also superb), is a high point throughout.

Even Blunt is given a few snippets of humour in a supporting turn as a spunky farm girl.

Cast & credits

Director: Rian Johnson. 118mins. DMG/Endgame/FilmDistrict/Ram Bergman. (15)

Producers: Ram Bergman, James D. Stern.
 Rian Johnson.
Camera: Steve Yedlin.
Music: Nathan Johnson.
Sets: Ed Verraux.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segun, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels, Pierce Gagnon, Qing Xu, Tracie Thoms.


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