Whilst it’s not the masterpiece that many have described it as, Looper is still one of the most entertaining and stylish sci-fi films to have come out in recent years. Its opening first act had me completely engrossed; it’s slick, intelligent, and the cinematography looks great. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a Looper named Joe, his job is to eliminate targets that’ve been sent back through time by the mob. It’s a very profitable business for him, until the day they send back his future self (Bruce Willis) and he is required to kill him and then spend the next thirty years in a very comfortable retirement. Except of course, things don’t go exactly to plan.
At the beginning the film struck me as being very neat and well thought out, but its tightness does start to lapse a little during the film as it goes on to introduce new elements which, whilst I thought were very well handled, still dragged the film away from its initial premise and weakened it a little in my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that this is a very strong and entertaining movie, but unfortunately it doesn’t quite use its full potential.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great in the lead role; he fights through a prosthetic designed to make him look more like Willis and delivers a performance that’s funny and sharp, whilst also doing a really great job of acting and mimicking Willis on his own terms. Bruce Willis himself does what he does best, and also delivers during the emotional challenges that his character faces. I was also a fan of Emily Blunt’s Sarah Connor-esque performance and Pierce Gagnon is very impressive as her troubled kid. It seems that there’s an abundance of fantastic child actors springing up at the moment, and Gagnon is another one to watch over the coming years. There’s possibly some great potential here.
Looper’s a fresh feeling science fiction film, which achieves that freshness with an intriguing first act, a great sense of style, and by intelligently drawing off many famous films that come from both within the genre, and from others such as film noir. It’s far from flawless, and in fact when put under scrutiny its plot holes and paradoxes come to light far too easily. But as the film itself tells us, this isn’t a complex examination of time travel, and although it’s nice to have a film that’s rigorously thought out, Looper still very much succeeds as a thoroughly entertaining experience.