Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis headline this sci-fi, time travel flick that is sure to not only provoke some debate but also go down as a wildly original and fun addition to the time travel genre. My review of Looper.
Time travel. A concept that films try and tangle but usually fail to make it very comprehensible which sends the product into a vortex of confusion. This leaves the audience disoriented and wondering what was just on the screen. That’s not the case with Looper. Directed and written by Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom) and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt, this movie doesn’t try and challenge the idea of time travel but rather expands it and gives it a very original twist.
While I don’t want to bog down on the specifics of the plot because that is something more fun to be interpreting and discovering on your own, I will give a short synopsis. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a hired hand, or a looper, who works for the mob. The mob sends people they want to get rid of back in time because it the future time travel is invented while in the narrative present, where Gordon-Levitt is, it is not invented yet. But in the narrative present, the loopers wait for the people the mob send and eliminate them, leaving no trail behind on either side.
The part that shines the most in this movie is the script. What I loved so much about it was how it introduced the idea of time travel and how it is used in this movie so simply. It didn’t try and bog you down with a lot of details to make it super complex, it gave you what you needed to know and it let your mind do the rest. Another thing I liked was how the beginning of the movie spends time introducing you to the world without having to explain everything in great detail. While Gordon-Levitt adds some voiceover to explain some things, Johnson wants the audience to interpret this world on their own and he gives us the important details without making a show out of them.
Not only that but he gives us such an original plot. While time travel is nothing new, Johnson gives it a new use and makes it restricted so it is not abused. He also intertwines the narratives of Gordon-Levitt and Willis very nicely, while some parts are a little choppy, the bulk of the narrative flows well and the audience understands why the character is doing what he is doing. He also makes it a study on humans which comes through Willis’ character and the choices he is forced to make.
The star in my opinion of the movie was Bruce Willis. While Gordon-Levitt was fantastic, I felt that Willis displayed such a great range throughout the film. He had a lot longer gap between his highs and his lows than Gordon-Levitt had and it was great to watch such a talented actor work. It’s amazing how great of a job Willis can do within a sci-fi, action script as he gives a very dramatic performance within those constraints. Gordon-Levitt also shines and shows that he is one of the best actors working in the business right now. Every time he hits the screen, he can command it and that’s saying something with Willis being there at the same time. Emily Blunt does a good job and while she doesn’t blow you away, she gives a strong performance and shows that she can always do well.
I want to give props to Pierce Gagnon, who played the little boy Cid. This kid did a great job and really had a strong performance for what his role commanded of him. You know that you are watching experts work when a director can get a performance like that out of a young boy.
While there was a lot of good things in this movie it did have its flaws. Firstly, it had some really slow parts that while was moving the narrative, did not necessarily have to take up as much time as it did and left out some character developing time. I say this mainly because I felt that Jeff Daniels character while important could of use a tad bit more developing to show his purpose in the world.
Looper is a possible classic in the time travel genre and I hope people give it a chance because it is a fantastic action movie and one that makes you think and discuss following it. It has strong performances out of Gordon-Levitt and Willis and a surprise performance out of young Gagnon. I highly recommend this fall action flick as it is one of the more well written and original ideas in awhile.