Director: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels
Running time: 118 mins
Synopsis: In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.
Rian Johnson first came to the forefront with his writing and directing feature-debut BRICK (2005). The film not only won critical acclaim but was his first pairing and big screen breakthrough for Joseph Gordon-Levitt , the man who continues to rise the acting ladder very impressively. For LOOPER, they’re reunited 7 years later on the big screen in a truly exceptional time-travel thriller and it’s a return to form for Johnson, after the lacklustre THE BROTHERS BLOOM (2008), and Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes the lead alongside the indestructible talent of Bruce Willis with the addition of a commanding Emily Blunt performance.
In LOOPER, Gordon-Levitt is Joe and a looper, that’s an assassin from the future who kills people sent back in time by a criminal organisation. He has one weapon, a blunderbuss, and with that he just has to shoot whoever appears in front of him the minute they appear via time-travel. However, there is one rule, you can’t let your target escape, even if it’s a future you. But, you’ve guessed it, just as Joe is about to ‘close his loop’, it doesn’t exactly go to plan as future Older Joe (Bruce Willis) turns up waiting to be shot but something is different…and older Joe knocks his younger version out and is on the run. When younger Joe wakes-up, he faces a frantic fight to find his future self and take him out or suffer the consequences from his employers.
If you’re after an action-packed, sci-fi thriller then you’re close with LOOPER but in fairness, that would be a disservice to the aesthetic of the film. This is another level compared to the usual mainstream drab that you’ll usually see, the 2012 TOTAL RECALL being a fine example of how to completely ruin a great concept. LOOPER is unpredictable, drags us willingly into a twisting narrative and holds all the best ideas and soul of films such as MOON or even INCEPTION.
Gordon-Levitt isn’t just a young Bruce Willis visually, he leads with strength and holds the screen just as effectively as the legend does. Sure, there is going to be mentions of prosthetics on Gordon-Levitt as it shapes him to look like a younger Willis but just as the latter is the master of understatement, it feels like Gordon-Levitt has astutely studied him to the point of uncanny. It is initially a little strange to see those blue eyes on him, and maybe the eyebrows are a bit too dark, but they could be the same person 30 years apart.
LOOPER gets all the little things right and that’s what makes it interesting. Accompanied by impressive compositions by Nathan Johnson, the future is realistically grounded and there’s enough changes in that time that make sense. There’s co-starring support from Paul Dano as fellow looper Seth , Emily Blunt as young mother Sara and Jeff Daniels as crime boss Abe, who all give the film another level of solid talent. Dano performs his best from strong to distraught with Blunt and Daniels both playing against type, and succeeding perfectly. It’s great to see the latter couple adding more strings to their character roles, and without spoilers, they are vital pieces in proceedings.
Sure, there will be a few debates about trivial plot-holes but they can be dismissed as loop holes (Yes, I went there), this is a completely unique journey and it’ll be an easy sell with two outstanding lead actors. LOOPER is inventive, invigorating and inspired, a film that deserves to be talked about and discussed, one that’ll surely inspire a new generation of film-makers and ideas. Quite frankly, it’s a modern-day classic.
LOOPER opens on 28th September.