In director Rian Johnson’s ‘Looper’ exists one of the smartest and most entertaining science fiction films in years. Filled with action, briskly paced, thoughtful, and featuring some fine performances from its leads, ‘Looper’ forgoes the kitschy paradoxes and self indulgent time travel clichés and smartly focuses on solid storytelling.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis portray ‘Joe’…a hit man for an organized crime syndicate that controls time travel. Joe is one of many ‘Loopers’ as they are called, whose job it is to assassinate people. Set in Joe’s ‘present day’ year of 2044, he awaits the arrivals of people sent back in time and he executes them. They materialize, he shoots…emotionless, quick, and bloody.
But now a new crime boss, known as The Rainmaker, has taken control of the syndicate thirty years into Joe’s future. His directive is that all Looper’s contracts (and their future selves) are to be terminated as well. If the premise sounds complicated, it is. But it is also expertly crafted and presented with an ease and intelligent accessibility that should be seen for oneself.
‘Looper’ found its strength in its more modest budget and production values. This isn’t some bloated science fiction effects extravaganza. And that is exactly why ‘Looper’ works. Story, performances, and an intimately interesting and original premise make this film one of this year’s best: and a future classic in the science fiction genre.
As predatory assassins become prey, the film really picks up momentum and never releases its grip. Even the films quieter moments are tense and suspenseful.
Bruce Willis is in fine form as ‘Old Joe’ while Joseph Gordon-Leavitt’s performance adds a distinct credibility to the character of ‘Joe’ as his mannerisms and affect have aptly channeled a younger Bruce Willis. Emily Blunt is fantastic as ‘Sara.’ Blunt infused her character with a spirited toughness and warmth and easily provided the film with its standout performance. Jeff Daniels, Piper Perabo, Paul Dano, Pierce Gagnon, and Garrett Dillahunt round out the supporting cast.
‘Looper’ is an exciting ride! It boasts a uniquely original take on the time travel motif and has been crafted into a dynamic, intellectual adrenaline rush. For those seeking an entertaining and intelligent action movie you will not be disappointed; for science fiction fans it is not to be missed.
With the movie near the end of its theatrical run, I highly recommend seeing it on the ‘big screen’ while you still can. ‘Looper’ is slated to be released on DVD on December 31st. This reviewer can’t wait to see ‘Looper’ again and add it to his own DVD collection.