Looper (2012) Directed by Rian Johnson. Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt. IMDB says: ”In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.”
I don’t even know where to begin. Do I talk about the outstanding performances by the entire cast? Do I start with the fantastic camerawork and directing style of Rian Johnson? Do I touch on the soundtrack first? Maybe I can start small with a brief synopsis of what the film is about? I could potentially begin by telling you that the trailers are misleading, but in the best way possible. Instead, I think I’ll start at the beginning.
When Joseph Gordon-Levitt first met director Rian Johnson, it was on the set of ‘Brick’, a noir-type crime mystery that took place at a high school. During the filming of the movie, Rian introduced an idea he had for a time travel movie to JGL. After the film wrapped, the two stayed in touch throughout the years with Johnson always giving JGL updates on the story and where it was headed. Rian even ended up writing the main character for JGL! (hence why his name in the film is Joe) That dedication to story and the appreciation of actors is what makes this film so incredible. The story grabs your attention, takes it on a ride backwards and forwards, gives you the tiniest of clues, and then comes full circle, finishing the loop the story has created. What makes it an incredible film, is the outstanding performances, the camerawork, Rian Johnson’s directing style, and the soundtrack, all of which build upon one another to create a structured film that is solid with no weakness.
For those not in the know or those who have ignored the trailers, Looper is about Joe, a hired killer who kills for the mob. But the twist is, he is sent targets from the future. In the future, time travel is outlawed and the mob controls it. So when someone wants you dead, they send you back in time where someone like Joe is waiting. On a routine job, Joe is waiting for his target, but is stunned when he finds out the target is him. (I don’t care who you are that just sounds awesome). Older Joe escapes his younger self and the chase is on for Young Joe to catch and kill himself? Yeah it might sound confusing, but the story is told so well that anybody can follow it. Unless you’re from the future or something, cause, you know, that time travel crap just fries your brain like an egg.
The two obvious stand-out performances belong to JGL and Bruce Willis. JGL becomes a younger Bruce Willis with the help of some prosthetics and method acting. JGL has done a fantastic job picking up his mannerisms, speech patterns, and even his eyebrow movement! Bruce Willis really stood out to me with this film because he wasn’t just his typical Bruce Willis-y type self. He added a layer of emotion that I personally have never seen in his films and it was that layer of emotion that allowed him to be more relatable as a character. Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, and a perfectly comedic Jeff Daniels add to not only those performances but help the story really take shape in areas that could have easily fallen flat.
I’ve never seen a Rian Johnson film before, but I was very impressed with his camera work and his sense of style. Some shots felt reminiscent of Back to the Future Part 2 and Blade Runner, which I appreciated. I also appreciated the fact that he never used cheap camera effects just to use them. Most science fiction films will add some frills so your eyes get distracted from what could be bad performances or poor dialogue (looking at you Avatar). I also enjoyed Rian’s panning shots and his low positioned tracking shots. What added to the visuals of the film was the soundtrack. It just works. Nathan Johnson built a score that is there when you need it and when it’s there, all it does it enhance the scene.
Don’t wait for Netflix or VOD to see the film either. It needs to be experienced on the big screen. And don’t wait a week or two to see the film. Go the first weekend or first week because people will talk about this movie and you don’t want anything spoiled. Like the fact the whole thing was a dream and that when JGL escapes the prison he’s in, he discovers it wasn’t a dream and that the apes have really taken over! You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! God damn you all to hell!
FTS SCORE: 92%