Writing a review for this movie is not easy. With every other movie that I have reviewed in the past it was on the basis of comparing it to another film, weighing the pros and cons, and all the other jargon that applies.
With Looper, I feel it really can’t be compared. Sure, it’s a hybrid-genre film like Blade Runner or Zombieland, but that’s a similarity in itself, not a comparison. Looper, Rian Johnson’s third film, manages to pay tribute to so many genres and at the same time stands alone as what extravagant, brilliant storytelling should be.
In Looper we meet Joe played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It takes place in Kansas in the year 2044, when time travel hasn’t been invented yet. Joe is a “looper,” a hitman whose targets are sent from the future thirty years from now, where time travel has been invented. Joe’s wealthy, savvy, and has the world at his fingerprints. However, the reason he is called a “looper” is because eventually he’ll have to close his own loop by killing his future self. When Old Joe (Bruce Willis) is sent back he manages to escape. It’s up to Young Joe to find out what his future self is after, and to set things right to save not only his present, but also his future.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a stunning performance as Joe. Levitt, who starred in Johnson’s first film Brick, is captivating throughout. The greatest part of his performance was that he managed to add some gruff to his voice, making him seem like a young Bruce Willis. Willis also manages to turn a great performance. It’s a very subtle, yet ruthless in the best way, nothing comical like the Die Hard franchise.
What this film does with time travel is so unique it’s probably the best time travel movie in years, even though it’s not all about time travel. In the diner scene, Willis’ character even refutes the idea of talking about time travel, saying “I don’t want to talk about time travel shit, cause if we start talking about it then we’re going to be here all day talking about it, making diagrams with straws, it doesn’t matter.” With this line alone, moviegoers can think of dozens of sci-fi that physically have diagrams and what not. Also, one would think that based on the trailer that they might end up helping each other, but each of them are so dead-set on what they have to do. This film has all the elements of a time travel story, but Johnson merely uses that as a tool to enhance the characters and the story.
Rian Johnson stated that the idea going into this was to make a movie the way he would want at an independent level except with more money, and he pulls it off. Looper does have the blockbuster factor to it and some major star-power with Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels, but the film has more worth to it than just star-power alone. The film has one of the greatest stories told in 2012, and definitely sets the bar high for everyone else.
After seeing Looper, the audience will definitely discuss and debate this film, and they’ll wrap their minds on what just happened. A film that pays homage and feels original at the same time is a film always worth seeing. Looper may be the most exciting, original film I have seen in 2012.