Time travel, does it exist? Is it plausible? Who gives a shit when you can watch a film like Looper.
Looper is an intelligent and wonderfully executed sci-fi thriller marked by some polished performances, that brings the idea of time travel to the big screen in a way that isn't too cheesy or gimmicky. Looper shifts between the years of 2044 and 2074 and follows the life of Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a hit man for the mob known as a "Looper" who murders and disposes of criminals who the future mob wish to eliminate. Joe's life takes a dramatic turn when the mob sends back his future self (Bruce Willis) to be killed in order to close his loop. The complication that follows is that Joe does the one thing you cannot do - let your target get away.
Looper is set in the not-too distant future that is more relatable than you'd expect. Society is seemingly in a state of economic turmoil as the homeless shelter on the streets and people drive out-dated cars with solar panels super glued to the hood. As always, money is power, and those who have it can afford to live a good life, this includes the Loopers. The setting of the future is always one that usually feels stupid and cheap, but the future setting in Looper is grounded in reality so well that you will forget it's 2044. Even the weapons are rather primitive. The Looper's weapon of choice is the Blunderbuss while the mob elite prefer The Gat, which is practically the bastard child of a revolver.
In the future (2074) disposing of a body is outright impossible, to cope with these restraints, the mob sends those causing problems back in time to be taken care of by Loopers, the assassin of the future. Joe is one of these assassins. Joe lives the high life, the silver bars he earns from his hits is spent on prostitutes and narcotics administered through the eyes. Joe is a self-centered junky that seems to have no moral objection to shooting people at point blank with his blunderbuss. His perception of life is ultimately changed when the mob decides to close his loop.
When it's time to close his own loop, Joe hesitates and his future self (Bruce Willis) escapes - one thing you cannot allow to happen. Older Joe is seeking to bring down the future mob boss known only as the Rainmaker. Old Joe's quest begins as the more noble of the two and the character development is extraordinary. The characters are wonderfully separated throughout the film and weaved into each other's paths. The film essentially forces you to become invested in the characters end game, the pivotal moments of the film take your perceptions of young and old Joe and flip it on its head in a way that should leave you astounded.
For a main character, young Joe is basically an ass hole who you have no sympathy for, while initially you feel somewhat sympathetic to the plights of old Joe. Willis delivers short, but deep, emotional scenes superbly in a polished performance. Gordon-Levitt also performs exceptionally throughout the film. It's important to point out the make up, Gordon-Levitt spent excessive amounts of time in the chair having his face reshaped to look like a younger version of Willis. This illusion is great for the majority of the film but at times it doesn't quite seem legitimate but you can't deny the amount of effort they went to, it has its moments where it looks brilliant. However it's JGL's acting that makes him more like Willis in every way. JGL perfectly captures the badass attitude and mirrors Willis's mannerisms, deep voice and gestures to create a perfect reflection of the character. The performances are so well done that it actually feels like you're watching the same character.
|Does it work?|
Along the journey young Joe encounters a down to earth farm girl named Sara, played by Emily Blunt, who is a fine addition to the cast. Sara is the mother of a rather abnormal boy named Cid who has telekinetic powers. Pierce Gagnon's portrayal of Cid is remarkably good, considering he's only about 5 or 6 years old. Joe must ultimately protect and watch out for Cid and Sara and it is this interaction that begins to sway Joe's character into more of an anti-hero and less of a selfish prick. Once old Joe's intentions are revealed, the plot is seemingly turned on its head and leaves you questioning everything you believed about the characters.
Looper's risky concept is one that pays off in this brilliant Sci-Fi thriller that is strengthened by fine performances by both Willis and JGL. The story is wonderfully written, the concept is remarkable and the character development is rich enough to have you emotionally invest into the characters. Looper could have easily been a cheap gimmick of time travel, but instead it turns full circle to become an engaging and compelling story about how important it is to make the right choices in life.
Looper is easily one of 2012's best films. 9/10