DIRECTOR: Ryan Johnson
Contains MAJOR Spoilers!
“This year’s The Matrix”. “Most Exiting film of the year”. Both are quotes from the posters and both are very much overstated in my opinion. But don’t get me wrong, Looper is one of the genre’s most ambitious and bold films that I have ever seen.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a Looper named Joe in the year 2044. Loopers are assassins at a time in which time travel has yet to be invented but 30 years on, 2074, it has been and is promptly outlawed. But criminal organisations have taken the tech and send victims for the future to be disposed off in the past by the Loopers.
But at the end of their terms, the Loopers are sent back to be assassinated by themselves, closing the loop and given a golden handshake and thirty years of life to live. But when Levitt’s future self is sent back, he manages to escape and goes on a mission to assassinate a criminal king-pin known as The Rainmaker as a child to prevent a darker future and the death of his future wife.
The younger Joe is set on killing his older self and closing his loop whist Old Joe (Bruce Willis) is out on his disturbing mission, whilst both are being hunted by the 2044 branch of the criminal organisation which is intent on killing them both. The tone off this film is a little unusual. The noir is pronounced, with dark shades, dirty characters and seedy plots where the action is subdued yet crucial. This is style but there’s defiantly substance here, with a complex and well conceived time travel story, though simple at its core, but dealt with in a mature and dark fashion.
The ethics of our leads are mired in selfish desires but with common decency shining through from time to time. This is hard film, with real ideas, though somewhat derivative in Science Fiction terms and a tough application of those ideas. But my hat’s off to Levitt as his portrayal of a young Bruce Willis is perfect, from his body language to his inflections, this was almost John Maclain from Die Hard (1988).
The twists are not really difficult to see for genre fans but are well-played and engrossing as they play out, even the more outrageous and outlandish moments being given plausibility by the well handled screenplay and expert noir direction. Ryan Johnson is best known for directing Brick (2006), a film which I didn’t like on my first viewing but Looper is more conventional, a thriller with a lot to teach its audience in the opening 30 minutes and is explained well.
There are some plot holes though but I would recommend that you take them as a pinch if salt and don’t let scenes such as an other Looper’s mutilation sequence and its paradoxical concisenesses spoil the film. The scene was good, though deeply flawed.
Still, quotes such as “This year’s The Matrix” and “Most Exiting film of the year” are both wrong. I get The Matrix (1999) argument but only for the odd sequence and it is exiting, but if this is this the most exiting film then 2012 much have been quite dull. And it wasn’t. What about Marvel Avengers Assemble (3D), The Dark Knight Rises or The Amazing Spider-man (3D)?