I’m still trying to process my thoughts about Looper (gotta love Thursday night screenings when the movie comes out the next day), but overall it’s an interesting movie. It has many parallels to 2000’s Frequency, one of my favorite movies, but it also has its own unique storyline. Most of the film occurs in 2044, in Kansas, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s older self (played by Bruce Willis) is living in 2074; Gordon-Levitt wears prosthetics in the film and actually does look like a younger Willis. I would have liked to see more of 2074 – what we get is pretty much a cursory glance – but the events happening in 2044 are definitely interesting enough to hold its audience’s attention.
Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is a “looper.” In 2074, time travel exists, but is illegal, and the mob uses it to send back people whom they want killed, to “loopers” like Joe, who “do the necessaries,” as he says. Each body comes with silver bars which Joe can turn in for money or keep, and they also arrive in 2044 tied up and with a bag over their head; when some of the loopers kill their targets and then find gold bars instead of silver, they know that they’ve just “closed the loop,” or essentially killed their future selves, and have only 30 years left to live. Joe’s friend Seth (Paul Dano) has this happen to him, but he finds himself unable to kill his future self; Joe and Seth’s employers track down both Seth and his older self, and both Seth and Seth Sr. – SPOILER – meet a gruesome end.
Joe has been hearing rumors that the man who is the boss in 2074, called The Rainmaker, wants all of the loops closed, and that is why more and more loopers have “met” their future selves recently. When Joe’s self arrives, it is without a bag over his head, and him and the man (Willis) stare at each other until Willis knocks him out cold and takes off. Joe eventually finds out that Joe Sr. (Willis) wants to kill The Rainmaker, so that none of the bad stuff that has been happening in 2074 will ever happen, and Joe Sr. has narrowed down The Rainmaker to one of three people – all of whom are children.
In the midst of all this, a random fact is thrown out that 10% of the population have an interesting mutation: telekinesis, or TK. Most of the people who have TK aren’t great with their abilities – guys use it to impress girls, by levitating quarters – but Joe meets Sara (Emily Blunt, and the first time I’ve heard her with an American accent!) and her son Cid, both of whom have this power. Cid is one of the candidates that could be Joe Sr.’s “Rainmaker,” and Joe Jr. finds himself wanting to protect Cid from Joe Sr.
Confused yet? You’ll have to see the movie for yourself to figure out the rest. Bruce Willis barely has any speaking lines in this film, yet he didn’t need to have more than he did; he channels his Die Hard persona and has a lot of particularly awesome action scenes here. He and Joseph Gordon-Levitt work well together, and Gordon-Levitt has good chemistry with Blunt too, although part of their relationship veers off into predictability in one scene. Paul Dano, Piper Perabo, and Jeff Daniels all have small but interesting parts as well, Daniels in particular as someone from the future who runs the loopers’ operation in 2044. Pierce Gagnon, who plays the little boy, Cid, was freaky at times and will definitely convince you that he might use his TK “powers” for evil, and not good, some day.
Yes, see this film. It wasn’t as earth-shattering and original as its Rotten Tomatoes rating led me to believe it would be (92% and 96% from “Top Critics” at the time of this review), but it includes strong performances from all cast members involved and a plot that will leave you wondering about it after the credits have rolled. It’s also refreshing to see an “original” movie, as nowadays many of the films in the theater are sequels, and Looper definitely qualifies as original.
Looper is currently in theaters, and is rated R with a runtime of 118 minutes.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.