November 24, 2012
Even though I was a little disappointed that Rian Johnson's Looper wasn't quite what I expected, it's still one of the most ambitious time travel films of all time.
I’ve been sitting on this review for a very long time, not quite sure what to write. Having thought about it, drafted and re-drafted it I think I’m finally okay with my thoughts on Looper, even though they weren’t quite what I expected them to be.
Time travel is invented by the year 2074; immediately outlawed, it’s used by the mob to get rid of victims. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a looper; a hired gunman who waits 30 years in the past for the victim to arrive. Promptly killing him and disposing of the body, Joe is paid well for doing his job; spending his money on drink, drugs and girls. On the face of it, he enjoys the work; until the day that the mob decide to “close the loop” by transporting back Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination.
I went into Rian Johnson’s Looper fully expecting to come out with it as my film of 2012. After attempting to avoid as many reviews and podcasts as possible, with the odd comment slipping through the net; I was fully aware that everyone loved it. Whilst I really enjoyed it, it didn’t quite live up to the hype I had built up in my head. A beautifully crafted, well cast, slick sci-fi; Looper is easily one of the greatest time travel films around. Dealing with paradoxes in an expertly Doctor-esque fashion (wibbily wobbily timey wimey), the narrative is near perfect, posing often terrifying consequences as the characters’ histories are rewritten.
Despite the casting being perfect throughout (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis have surprisingly fantastic chemistry as the same person in different times of their life), my biggest problem with Looper was the make up. It took a little time to adjust to Gordon-Levitt’s peculiarly unfamiliar features; his fake eyebrows and transition into the balding Willis especially. I know I’m nit picking, but I think they really could have done a better job at times. If we live in a world where we can transform Brad Pitt into an old man who grows younger as he ages; we can make Gordon-Levitt look less weird as he morphs into Willis.
Stylish, cleverly crafted and challenging; Johnson’s dystopian Looper is quite possibly the most ambitious film of the year. It seamlessly mixes touching scenes with violence and morality, making it as creative as it is mind blowing. Existing entirely by its own rules, Looper is void of the logic that restrains many modern sci-fi flicks, allowing the creativity and originality I haven’t seen in a long time. It might not be my favourite film of the year so far, but Looper is still one of the best science fiction/action movies I’ve seen in a long time.