In the future, time travel will be discovered then instantly outlawed by the government. The only people who have access to time machines are organized crime gangs. They used the machines to send their enemies back in time where they are murdered by assassins called loopers. One of these loopers is Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). He is part of a gang of loopers working out of Kansas City. Their boss Abe (Jeff Daniels) was sent back in time by the mobs to oversee the loopers work as well as manage a nightclub where many of the loopers hang out. Joe is particularly attracted to one of the club’s dancers, Suzie (Piper Perabo), who is also a prostitute. Joe puts holds back half of his payment for each killing with a dream of going to France when his looping days are done. A looper knows his career is over when he’s sent the older version of himself to kill. When the future version of Joe (Bruce Willis) appears in front of present Joe, he freezes, giving future Joe time to escape. This is a major problem for present Joe as the one rule of looping is never let your target live. With both present and future Joes on the run from each other and the mob, present Joe hides out at a farm in the countryside owned by Sara (Emily Blunt) who lives there with her son Cid (Pierce Gagnon). Future Joe goes on a mission to find the future leader of the mob who is only known as Rain Maker. He has a map showing the locations of three children born on a specific date at one hospital. One of these children is the future Rain Maker who is sending all the older loopers back in time to be killed by their younger selves. Future Joe’s mission is to kill them all and make sure the life he made for himself stays intact.
(As I write this, I’m a bit under the weather so it may be shorter than most of my reviews.)
“Looper” uses the tried and true sci-fi gimmick of time travel and bends it into something unique and fresh. Most films on the subject time themselves up in knots trying to explain the process and all the things that could go wrong with changing the past and the effects on the future. “Looper” avoids those pitfalls and deals with the issue in a matter-of-fact way that allows the audience to largely ignore the device and focus its attention on the story and the characters.
“Looper” is that rare movie that can tell a story in a way that is never predictable. With most films, it becomes clear early on how the story will play out and conclude. I have to say “Looper” was never that way. I couldn’t begin to guess how various plot points might resolve as the story unfolded and I was always surprised by how things evolved. It is a great flick that can keep its audience in the dark as to how various strings of the story might play out and “Looper” manages to do just that.
Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt look nothing alike; however, prosthetics were added to Levitt’s face to modify his appearance and his voice and mannerisms attempt to give his character a Willis-esque appearance. It works surprisingly well.
Willis, Levitt, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels and the rest of the cast are all top-notch in their roles. The stand out of all the actors was little Pierce Gagnon as Sara’s son Cid. He’s a small child with a cherubic face but he can turn his expressions dark and menacing in a flash. He’s cute but with a very dark side that can explode violently. He steals the movie nearly every time he’s on screen.
“Looper” is rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug content. Numerous people are shown being shot. One person becomes horribly disfigured as punishment. We see one woman topless briefly in one scene. The sexuality is rather muted. Drug content is shown as a drug that’s delivered via eyedropper. Foul language is common throughout that film.
“Looper” is an original film that uses an unoriginal sci-fi gimmick in a completely new way. It’s also helped along by an inventive story and terrific cast. It all works from beginning to end…and back to the beginning again.
“Looper” gets five guitars.
A sequel and more Halloween-themed animation open this week. Vote for the next film I see and review.
Frankenweenie—After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments.
Taken 2—In Istanbul, retired CIA operative Bryan Mills and his wife are taken hostage by the father of a kidnapper Mills killed while rescuing his daughter.
Stan’s Choice—Stan sees and reviews any film of his choice currently in theatres.
Release dates are subject to change and not all films may be shown in Knoxville, TN.