Dawn News

Movie Review: Looper

Looper stars Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt. — Courtesy Photo

Forget time travel. In the future anything can happen, because Joseph Gordon-Levitt may end up looking like Bruce Willis.

In science fiction premise is everything; the more plucky and loopier, the better. Ergo: Rian Johnson’s Looper, an absorbing futuristic thriller of mob hit-men snuffing people from the future, in our would-be future — Or something close to the effect.

Johnson’s sci-fi fable, where he shoos-away the mechanics of time-travel, is a perfect short-story out of pulp anthology magazines: Our future, 2044, has yet to discover time-travel, which is already banned in its future, 2074, where the law is quick to nab murderers. So whenever future-mob needs someone hit, they transport the victim, bound and face-covered, 30 years back where a specialized mob-deputy — dubbed “Looper” — takes him out. Loopers, and there are a handful, are employed by Abe (Jeff Daniels), a future-traveller sent to manage these hits.

Like any work contracted by syndicated criminals, the pay-scale is ludicrously lucrative (Loopers are paid in solid silver bars, strapped to their hit’s back). Their exit strategy is simpler still; their contract ends when they shoot their future-self sent back to close “their” loop.

Now imagine this: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (always engaging), with his lip-thinned and nose prosthetically-lifted, is a young, aimless, junkie Looper called Joe with a great retirement plan: he plans to relocate to France, when he closes his loop.

One “routine” day at his job — after a riveting unvaried-cycle self-centering on Joe’s colorless, and tirelessly “looping”, routine — Bruce Willis pops into frame, gag-free, beats him up and runs loose with an ulterior agenda (he has a future-wife, played by Xu Qing, he wants to live happy with).

When younger Joe wakes up, he finds a simple message from his future self: Runaway to China.

The younger version, horrified by the implications of time-space conundrums, and more-so of the mob’s doctrine on botch-ups — body parts are mangled-off, which automatically disappear on their present-self, as we see in one panic-provoking scene — he goes on the run to gun-down his future-self.

But before the body-count rumbles down, there’s a mute little scene between Gordon-Levitt and Willis in a diner (past-future selves have an ingenious way of communicating we’re shown). Willis, sparkling with anticipation of edging out a punch-line, and visible hint of madness-seen matureness, wants to take down the mob, and a mysterious evil telepathic who is closing loops in the future; Gordon-Levitt just wants Willis to roll-over and play dead — literally.

Looper, fiercely original half-way, notches down and shifts themes to Terminator-like setting when Sara (Emily Blunt), a single-handed farmer and her telekinetic kid Cid (Pierce Gagnon), are included via a initially planted MacGuffin.

Loopers’ uncomplicated, straight-forwardness is disarming, because it maintains flight an inch or two below the show-bizzy radar of big, bombastic blockbusters. With just a few minor air-bumps that make it blink-up into sensors, Johnson has created a hard-wearing, semi-burly sci-fi whose biggest suspension of belief is its insistence that Gordon-Levitt will mature into Willis 30 years from now.

Email news tips and feedback to News Desk, submit blogs to Blog Desk and share photos and Videos with Special Projects Desk.

Comments (0) Closed