Let me start out by saying that Looper is not what you think. It is indeed as the critics have been calling it, a very good movie. However, if you’re going into the theaters because you’re expecting to see quantum leaping exploration through the space-time continuum Inception-style, I’ll just say right now, that isn’t what this movie is. But don’t let that deter you from seeing it.
Without spoiling anything, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a drug-addicted mafia member (Joe) called a “Looper”. Loopers are hired guns that are tasked with killing undesirables that are sent from the future into the past by the same mafia to die. Bruce Willis plays a futuristic 30-year-older version of Joe who travels to the past on a mission of his own.
Looper puts a lot of the sci-fi elements of time travel right up in front where you can absorb it in the beginning, very firmly establishing itself as a member of that genre. But oddly enough, in the second act…it actually lets a lot of that go in favor of a more human story. The film has a genuine heart to it, and a sense of humor. The ending of the film may come as a shock to those who aren’t paying attention (or maybe because I’m just awesome like that), but it makes perfect sense and none of the plot threads are left hanging.
Does it have problems? Definitely some, yes. Elder Joe’s mission as how he describes it is understandable, but the audience isn’t able to get much of a feel for the stakes behind it, the reason for it, and even what the result of it might actually be. The film took a tell-don’t-show approach, which I could definitely see as breaking immersion. Some of the acting performances are more than a little off-beat (not including JGL or Bruce Willis). A few things come out of nowhere without explanation. I think the film could have used a better score. But these all are generally minor compared to what the film does right and I wouldn’t consider any of them heavy enough to take away from what made the movie fun.
Looper stands high and mighty on the list of must-see films for this year. It’s definitely not perfect, but I liked it a lot, and I think you will too. I’d give it 4 stars out of 5.
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