In the not too distant future time travel is reality and is used by the mob to dispose of someone who gets in their way. The send them back 30 years where a looper is waiting for them to take them out, leaving no evidence in the victim’s present and the murder untraceable. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a looper and knows at any time the boss could “close his loop”, meaning they would send his future self for him to kill in exchange for a large payoff. However, his future self (Bruce Willis) has other plans and intends to change the future and save his wife by killing her murderer as a child.
A lot of surprises for me here. Going by the trailer, I thought the drama stemmed from Gordon-Levitt discovering he had to kill his future self, but he was quite prepare for that. Didn’t know Emily Blunt was even in this, as she plays the mother of the child Willis must kill. Kudos on the American accent, Miss Blunt. Sometimes when a plot is not what I expected, I’m disappointed, but Looper had a lot more meat than I was anticipating.
With any film that takes place in the future, there’s a lot of world building exposition, and Looper is no exception. The first twenty minutes or so, you’re bombarded with a lot of information and key slang (like blunderbuss and TK) but everything has their place and importance. The future present here is a dirty and dangerous one, much like the world of Blade Runner. Gordon-Levitt’s Joe sleeps with prostitutes (or at least one prostitute), does drugs, and has a posing little weasel for a best friend (played by Paul Dano who seems to specialize in weaklings). While watching this film, I realized that Gordon-Levitt plays a lot of lonely guys, someone give the guy a hug!
2012 was a pretty strong year for kid performances and newcomer Pierce Gagnon is terrifying as Cid. I never wanted to see a kid get shot so much. He just is such a creepy little guy and while, yes, his mother loves him and sometimes he can look cute, but no good can come of him being allowed to reach adulthood.
One thing that bugged me was the excessive use of lens flairs. Once the action moved to the country, they calmed down, but early on it was driving me to distraction. I know people who hate on the use of shaky cam, but I find excessive lens flair way more obnoxious.
This was a strong year for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and I give the guy a lot of credit, he’s becoming a star on his own terms. You can always tell what drew him to the project and he isn’t doing stuff for the paycheck. I look forward to more interesting choice from him in the future.