Time travel concept in movies have been done to death. It’s gotten to the point where I’m not excited when a time-travel movie is announced. What most movies of that nature lack is ambition. Since there are an abundance of stories to deal with the subject, originality is lacking. Most seem to just go through the motions. I’m glad this finally changed with Looper. You can tell a lot of thought went into this. The story isn’t spoon fed to you; I really liked the way the narrative was structured (I wouldn’t get up and go to the bathroom if you see it in theaters). With this being sci-fi, some nitpicking can’t be stopped. It never reaches to the point where you’re not engaged; it does, however, cause this movie not to be just as phenomenal as Inception was. I also had that problem with Prometheus. Even having said that, this joins the ranks – along with Prometheus – of a memorable sci-fi movie after District 9. 2012 isn’t over, but has already filled my appetite for science fiction. Man, District 9 was spectacular, can’t help but compare sci-fis to that now.
The year is 2044 – Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a “looper.” Whenever a gangster from thirty years in the future wants to get rid of a body, they send them back in time, where the loopers kill them; leaving no trace. Joe is smart. He’s saving up is money so one day he can go away. One Day though, changes everything. The latest person sent back to be killed is him in the future (Bruce Willis). He escapes. Joe then learns that older Joe wants to kill three children, one of the three is going to grow up to be a powerful gangster. Present Joe is in trouble for letting his older self go, so he hides out on a farm. One of the occupants is Cid (Pierce Gagnon), one of the three kids. Cid’s mother, Sara (Emily Blunt), is also there. Joe then waits for the invertible to happen. Some details are explained in narration in the beginning; better to hear it for yourself.
Rian Johnson wrote and directed Looper. This is his third movie. None of his other movies broke out to a large audience; it’s a shame, he’s three for three in my book. He has worked with Joseph Gordon-Levitt before – on Brick. Johnson has a somewhat unique style of direction. Close attention to detail was given to make everything feel real. Throughout the whole thing, you could see little stuff that in the end added up – like excellent human touches. I couldn’t point out a moment where I thought the direction was nonexistent. The screenplay had the potential to be flawless. It misses that mark, but it’s still one heck of a script. The dialog between the older and younger version of Joe was great. Whenever they talked on-screen together I loved it. The characters were developed well; they were complex and intriguing. Narration can go very wrong. Here though, it was weaved in well without spoon-feeding you anything.
Time travel can get confusing. They explain it to a point, but some aspects aren’t touched. Bruce Willis (older Joe) actually says in the movie, “you don’t want to talk about time travel because we would be here all day talking about it – making diagrams.” More questions are brought up then answered. However, it played out in a way where it didn’t come off as lazy. Just one big question bothered me to where it lingered in the back of my mind. Really, time travel isn’t the “real” story. It surrounds it all but doesn’t engulf it. So many ideas and elements are in the movie. One of my complaints is that not all of them are explored to their fullest potential. I enjoyed everything; I wouldn’t have minded a longer running time. The amount of time is around an hour and fifty minutes. That was too short for my liking.
The performances are great all across the board. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s face was altered two try to mirror Bruce Willis more. They look nothing alike, but with the changes, he does look a bit more like a younger version of him. Still, my mind would wonder to the fact that you can tell he has lots of stuff on his face. This aspect didn’t even matter in the end. Gordon-Levitt is becoming a favorite actor of mine. It just seems anything he has been in lately is good. Inception, 50/50, The Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, followed by Looper have come out in that order. Of course, his best was back in 2009 – (500) Days of Summer). If you were expecting him to take this role off, you would be wrong. This was a different kind of role than he’s taken before – he nails it. I look forward to seeing him in Lincoln later this year. If you mix Willis with action, nine times out of ten, it works. Aside from deliver that action type guy, he also adds depth. I loved him in this. Jeff Daniels was outstanding – stole every scene he was in. Emily Blunt gives one of her best performances to date as well. Instead of being eye candy – which is what I thought on discovering she was in the cast – a real subtle effort is given.
Along with everything else, action and comedy are mixed in well. Not just drama is present. Albeit its light humor; humor is still there. I’m not talking about laugh out load funny, but a lot of chuckle worthy things. The action was filmed well. One scene, in particular, stood out for me. With a movie like this, small problems come along here and there. I won’t mention all of them, but one of the gangsters in the present time was developed far too much. Other things should have been explored. What made it worse is his character wasn’t as interesting as any of the others. If they were so keen on developing one of the gangsters; it should have been Jeff Daniels character. Looper doesn’t compare to Inception, but it’s a great cinematic experience that shouldn’t be missed. Joseph Gordon-Levitt works good with anything dealing with sci-fi it seems.