Review: LOOPER

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Writer/director Rian Johnson has made his breakthrough leap from low-key, indie films (Brick, The Brother’s Bloom) with this awesomely imaginative science fiction movie. While slightly flawed in its logic, Looper wonderfully displays Johnson’s skills as a storyteller and a filmmaker.  If movie geeks haven’t heard of him, they soon will.  Much like Blade Runner did in 1982, Looper combines the grittiness of a gangster noir picture and adds the endless possibilities of imagination that comes with science fiction.

In 2072, the loopers work as guns for hire, contract killers working for the mob, the mob thirty years in the future. The futuristic criminals send their marks back in time to the loopers who take them out. For a hired assassin, it sounds like easy money; however, with this work comes a huge catch. Whenever the bosses wish to “close the loop” and retire the killer, they send the older version of the assassin back in time for disposal.  Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) eventually faces this situation when his older version (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time for elimination. The trouble, though, is Old Joe manages to escape. Joe must find his older self before the mob takes matters into their own hands.

I truly was blown away with this visually stunning and action packed movie.  Johnson, obviously working with a bigger budget and larger crew this time, uses this to his advantage and does so wonderfully. The effects used to make Gordon-Levitt appear more like Willis look realistic, even though he doesn’t quite look like Willis completely. Still, these effects work much better than the CGI Jeff Bridges in the Tron sequel.  My main gripe comes from the logic of closing the loop. Why assassinate these guys to retire them?  Also, why have the same person assassinate his future self? This is never adequately explained which annoyed me a bit.  Despite this issue, I still managed to enjoy the story, characters, and the incredible and unexpected surprises that come with the rest of the story which I will not spoil for anyone here.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, without a doubt, does some outstanding work here. This young actor, with every new role he takes, continues to impress me and earns my respect.  Bruce Willis also offers a solid turn as Old Joe. I really had no doubts going into this film that these actors would do well.  The cast also features Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels who all perform excellently. The real standout is young actor Pierce Gagnon who portrays Cid, a child with frighteningly remarkable abilities.

Rian Johnson certainly proves his talents and abilities with this remarkable and outstanding science fiction film. I must highly recommend this for a full priced ticket as I believe it is worth it. In fact, I would love to go see it again before it exits the cinema, which hopefully won’t be any time soon.

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