Looper: "Time Travel Has Not Yet Been Invented. But Thirty Years From Now, It Will Have Been"

Director: Rian Johnson
Writer:    Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
               Bruce Willis
               Emily Blunt
               Paul Dano
               Piper Perabo
               Jeff Daniels
               Tracie Thoms
               Pierce Gagnon
Rating:    ****

Release Date: Out Now

To say that sci-fi isn't my favoured film genre would be an understatement; and while some sneak through and surprise me, overall I just cannot warm to the genre. I'm not sure if it's the science themed lingo, the often repeated storylines, or the infamous fans that have driven a wedge between me and the world of sci-fi; but it seems like an unfixable issue. That was until recently, with the likes of Avatar, Inception and Prometheus being released; each one different, and each one has managed to grip me and entertain me throughout. I thought it may have just been a phase, but with Looper the same thing happened to me again; I was instantly swept away in the story and action, and now I'm left wondering: Have I grown to love sci-fi?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
It's the year 2042, Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is just one of a large group made up of Loopers, a type of mafia-employed assassins; their task is to "take out the future garbage": Basically kill any criminals that are sent from the future. Tied up and vulnerable targets are sent 30 years back through time to a waiting Looper; the Looper then executes the bad guy, turns in the body and collects their riches. It's an alright way of life if you chose to live it that way; but when Joe's boss decides to send a 30 year older version of him back in time (to close the loop), he is soon faced with the idea of a never ending loop of a life.

Ironically, but perfectly mirroring the story, Joe's non-working life is a dull cycle of repeated routines, set against a grungy and nameless city back drop. His life has gotten to the point where he finds no more pleasure in a bar, than he does at work...killing people. When we meet him he has even started planning his escape, he's going to up and leave to France and spend the remainder of his life in peace; well, until the time comes for him to commit suicide (which is long overdue apparently). However, when the grumpy, hard-done-by future Joe (Willis) does appear, current Joe gets beaten and evaded by himself; this is known a "letting you loop run", and it is not the best news shall we say.

Bruce Willis
The film is a fast paced thrill ride, which is enhanced by it's sharp camera work and edgy soundtrack which pounds into our eyes, but never distracts. The director (Johnson) never loses control of his work and steers the movie with ease, and with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as his passenger. Gordon-Levitt is at the top of his game in this; he is laid-back, smart-mouthed and cold, all while remaining compelling and easy to watch. In a world that is filled with so little warmth or loyalty, it's no wonder he is like this, and there is no way he should've been portrayed any other way.

It's about halfway in that Looper takes a quick, sharp left turn, and the tone and action takes a different direction. Joe is on the run from his boss, when her ends at a remote farmhouse in the Kansas countryside. Sara (Blunt) lives here with her son, and lets just say this hard-nosed, gun-shooting, single mother has a few skeletons in her closet. Even with this drastic change of scenery the film doesn't stumble, not for even a moment. That being said, it's from here that the film starts to feel like a completely different picture; and with the edgy city skyline now becoming warm sunsets over trees, it's not exactly unexpected.

Emily Blunt
What we, as the audience, also lose in the latter portions of the movie is the dangerous, darker, almost nightmarish sense of the world around us being inconstant, something that is shown on screen using superb visuals. While the farmhouse isn't the safe haven it first appears, it is far from the rather disturbing tone Johnson sets up from the get go. Blunt of course delivers in all of her scenes, but sadly for her she must lead the last half of the film with a slightly lacklustre backstory, and as a character that doesn't quite play to her strengths as an actress.

Despite the fact the second act is not as edgy as the first (to clarify, it is still entertaining), it is for me a genuinely exciting sci-fi film; and with Prometheus also being released this year, 2012 is a good year for sci-fi. The script is filled with sharp dialogue and plot twists that help set up a wonderfully intricate world, filled with well thought out characters, and always coming across like it was created effortlessly.

Looper - Trailer