By Lindsey Allen |Staff Writer|
Rian Johnson’s new thriller film “Looper” is a great example of sci-fi/action done right.
The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, a man living in 2044 as a “looper.” Time travel does not exist yet, but 30 years into the future it does, although it is illegal. Loopers are paid to kill people from the future and dispose of the bodies.
At every point in a looper’s life, he must “close the loop,” meaning he must kill his older self when the older self appears in front of him, getting a payoff in result and living the rest of his life knowing where his fate lies. This is where things get complicated.
When Joe’s older self (played by Bruce Willis) appears in front of him, he hesitates when realizing who he is, resulting in his older self getting away. The audience is then fast-forwarded into the future, and we see how Joe’s life is in the next 30 years plays out.
Joe must then find his older self and finish the job, or else face a death sentence of his own from his mob bosses. Thus, plenty of action scenes ensue.
A key element in the plot comes when old Joe reveals to younger Joe that he is on a mission to kill “The Rainmaker” from the future, who is responsible for the closing everyone’s loops. In present day, however, The Rainmaker is only a 5-year-old boy at that point in time. I won’t give too much else away because I don’t want to ruin the surprises of the plot, but I will say the little boy (played by Pierce Gagnon) was a phenomenal actor.
In fact, all of the acting in the film was extremely believable. Gordon-Levitt plays his lead with conviction and depth and Bruce Willis showed a definite range of emotions as Old Joe. Emily Blunt also appears in the film as the boy’s loving and protecting mother.
Director/writer Rian Johnson did an excellent job of conveying the time-travel aspect without being too confusing. As Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News states in his review of the film, “Yes, ‘Looper’ stacks the deck, but if you hang with it, it hangs together . . . As with last year’s ‘Source Code,’ this is the rare action movie that rewards viewers who pay attention.”
What really impressed me about this movie was that it was not just a typical action film with men shooting guns the whole time (although there is plenty of that) with no substance or real storyline. The film deals with many everyday issues including friendship, addiction, mother/son relationships and breaking cycles. The ending was both surprising and thought-provoking.
The only complaint I would have about this movie would be Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s make-up. It’s clear that he was being made to look more like Bruce Willis, but I found it distracting and fake. The two still didn’t look much alike to me, but their superb acting more than makes up for that fact.
Overall, “Looper” was entertaining, thought-provoking and well-acted. I would definitely recommend checking it out.