Review: Looper

It’s the year 2044. Time travel doesn’t exist yet, but in 30 years it will. It was quickly deemed illegal the moment it was created. The thing is, the mob of the future is finding it hard to dispose of people, so they use time travel illegally to get rid of people easily (Hey, that rhymes).

Title: Looper
Rating: R (strong violence, language, some sexuality and nudity and drug content)
Running time: 119 minutes

Joe (Joesph Gordon-Levitt) is a looper for the mob. A looper’s job is to kill, no questions asked. Their targets are transported from the year 2074 to 2044, bound and covered, and the loopers kills them with their weapon, “the Blunderbuss.” They get paid in silver that is strapped on the targets’ back. Joe does this daily and is saving up so that he can move to France.

One day, a target appears late, unbound and uncovered. Joe realizes he is meeting his future self (Bruce Willis), who quickly and easily takes Joe down. When Joe awakens he realizes he is in trouble by letting his “loop run.” Now he has to dodge the mob, led by a future mobster named Abe (Jeff Daniels), and kill his future self before everybody else.

When Bruce Willis is involved in a movie, you can usually expect plenty of action. Looper delivers on that and more. The story gets pretty deep, with young Joe trying to figure out what he should do. On one hand, he needs to kill old Joe to live; on the other hand, he’s faced with a situation that could change the future.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt went through some small cosmetic changes and was able to mimic some of Bruce Willis’ mannerisms really well, making me believe that they are the same person. When the two are sitting down and talking at a diner, they have some great chemistry together. The dialogue and quick little snaps they make at each other before all hell breaks loose was easily one of my favorite scenes.

Sometimes I easily forget that the movie was set in the year 2044, as it had more of a retro feel with very subtle usage of anything resembling the future. The beginning of the movie felt like a classic mobster movie, as well as Joe’s clothing style, which seemed to be a mix of gangster meets greaser. I think it works because you’re not focusing on what year it is, but focusing on the the actual movie.

I also want to note how impressive Pierce Gagnon was in the movie. He was probably around five or six years old during filming, but he plays a very important role and did a great job, especially in his encounters with Joe and his mother Sara (Emily Blunt).

The movie won’t always give you the answers you seek. It has a much darker tone and Bruce Willis finds himself to be the anti-hero. The ending definitely leaves you thinking and doesn’t give you the closure you’ve come to expect from typical Hollywood movies. It definitely leaves things open for a sequel.

Director Rian Johnson was asked in an interview whether the movie was unique or will be doing something completely new. He said that there is nothing that hasn’t been done in Hollywood, with some influences being Blade Runner, Akira and other sci-fi movies. He is right but Looper does a great enough job to make this movie a solid watch.

Grade: A-

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