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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Looper Review

Looper Review
2012, 118 minutes
Rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity, and drug content

As Looper had its final fade out and cut to black, I sat in my seat speechless, stunned.  What had I just seen?  I have seen writer/director Rian Johnson's Brick (also starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a few times and saw a lot of promise in that film.  This is what Johnson has been working towards.  Looper is an unconventional, twisty, mind-bending piece of science fiction cinema that will easily go down in history as one of the best.  Johnson has pulled off a rare feat: he has combined dazzling action sequences, fantastic acting, and a brilliant story.  

Looper takes place in Kansas in 2044 where hit men, loopers, are hired by the mob to kill their enemies by sending them back in time (time-travelling is illegal in the future and only the mob uses).  However, the mob is closing loops, sending future-selves of loopers back in time to be killed by their younger selves.  Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a hit man, has a person sent back to him one day, himself (Bruce Willis).  

This movie works extremely well because, as mentioned, it works on every level.  Many movies of this kind are good, but have serious inconsistencies in their time-travel rules.  Rian Johnson, being the talented screenwriter that he is, has few inconsistencies, logistical issues, or plot holes (at least that I noticed) in his story.  The plot is always compelling, and even when there is a brief lull in the action in the middle of the film, it picks up in such a big way (to give you an idea, some people in the theater audibly gasped) that I forgot about the lull.  Johnson also has some great moments of humor that lighten the mood.  Also, there is a lot of humanity in the script.  Johnson made me care for the characters, a rare feat in a sci-fi film.

What is also fascinating about this film is that no one is particularly bad or good.  Most characters are fighting for love, a very humanistic element, and none are fighting for any malicious cause which makes all of them sympathetic in one way or another.

The acting from everyone was spot-on.  Gordon-Levitt puts in his usual fantastic work and Emily Blunt is incredible as always.  Jeff Daniels, who plays the loopers' boss is also very amusing to watch.

The action scenes are stunningly shot and choreographed.  Johnson places them in the right points, and still manages to balance action and drama well.  Each action scene is kinetic and has inventive camerawork to complement it.

Overall, Looper is this year's finest film so far.  I have now seen it twice and it loses little of its impact on the second viewing.  It is a smart sci-fi thriller, a moving drama, and an explosive, badass action film that will be sure to provoke and entertain.

-Joshua Handler


  1. Everybody’s good, the writing is top-notch, and the direction kept me on the edge of my seat, but there was a human element that just didn’t come around full-circle for me. I really liked this movie, but I didn’t love it and that’s a bit disappointing considering all of the hype. Good review.

  2. Thank you Dan! While, I loved Looper, I can see what you mean with the human element not coming full-circle. Without going into detail, there was a part of the ending that I could definitely see as not being completely satisfying. I always love hearing feedback on reviews (it helps me a lot) and discussing films, so keep it up.