SYNOPSIS: In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented – but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a “looper” – a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination. The film is written and directed by Rian Johnson and also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels. Ram Bergman and James D. Stern produce.
REVIEW: Exceptionally talented writer-director Rian Johnson (Brick, 2005) seems to be a nutty prankster who likes messing with audience’s heads. Loopers is an adrenaline-fueled manipulative mind-bender that seems to side steps the typical sci-fi-for-dummies methodology and launches audiences into a world of philosophical and moral dilemmas. This movie is darker than dark, bleaker than bleak and is certainly not for the faint of heart. It is morally complex and it plays out more like a tragedy than anything else. This flick feels like it literally tortures the imagination because a lot of time and mental energy is spent trying to rap one’s mind around the concept explained in the movie.
Stylistically, the movie gives the sensation of Natural born Killers meets Blade Runner with many genres and ideas swirling together as a creative saga. Moreover, this Rian Johnson's thoughtful, intense and completely entertaining time travel tale is as difficult to describe as it is to resist. In addition to that, the dialogue is spot-on as well as the camera work.
Not everything about this latest Rian Johnson feature is beautifully done though. I found the violent, homicidal, and extremely brutal scenes a little over the top and a bit unnerving, to say the least. It became a little monotonous after about the third repeated killing scene (out of many, many killing scenes). In other words, the style in which the protagonist killed his victims was exactly the same in every killing, over and over, and over, again and again. This, to me, took away from the quality of the storytelling, even though, I’m fairly certain that this was an intentional attribute of the type of storytelling. Another downside to Johnson’s filming style is that the story sorta’ drags on for a while before it starts to come together. Getting the gist of the story across to the audience seemed a little difficult because of the mind-bending attributes of the story. However, eventually it all started to come together and rapped up quite nicely, in the end.
On the casting side of this feature, Joseph Gordon Levitt is outstanding in his role as a young version of the hit man character, Joe. Whilst Bruce Willis stole the show once he appeared half way through the two hour flick as the older version of Joe the hit man. Jeff Daniels plays the Abe character that is the other half of the two antagonists in this film and is dead-on with his usual style of nice-guy psychopath. He really added to the grittiness of the film style.
All in all, this movie is right in line with a typical Rian Johnson feature and is pure in an animalist way and troubling in terms of moral complexity. It certainly deserves three and a half stars (out of five) for originality and sophistication.
By Movie-Man Stan
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Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Genre: Action, Thriller
Duration: 1hr 58mins
Staring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Producer Basil Iwanyk
for strong violence, language,
Release Date: September 28, 2012
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