The Score: "[In 'Looper'] Future Villains Send Anyone They Want 86'd Back In Time To Be Killed By Assassins"

Friday, Sep 28, 2012 3:00PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

THE SCORE 8.5/10
Watch Trailer
  • Looper
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis
  • September 28, 2012
Wired 9/10
Screen Rant 4/5
The Star 3/4
California Literary Review 5/5
NY Daily News 4/5

With the summer blockbuster flicks now long gone, it seemed like the only good offerings at the box office are dramas and romances. All that changes today with the new action-packed assassin thriller Looper.

The flick takes place over 30 years from now and puts a whole new spin on time travel.

The year is 2044 and time travel has been invented 30 years in the future -- and almost immediately made illegal, which is to say criminals are the only ones using it. These future villains send anyone they want 86?ed back in time to be killed by assassins from the past known as "loopers." As Joe the looper (played by the ever-evolving Joseph Gordon-Levitt ) explains, they kill their marks and dispose of the bodies -- or, "I do the necessaries, collect my silver." (Each target is sent back with bricks of silver strapped to their backs.) (Wired)

Looper relies on injecting star power with lead actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis.

Gordon-Levitt, wearing subtle and artful makeup that nudges his face closer to that of a young Bruce Willis, is an actor who truly interacts with his fellow performers. Here they range from Jeff Daniels (an amusingly off-handed gangland leader) to Blunt, atypically cast but wholly convincing as a weathered but great-looking farm widow, raising a preteen boy whose place in the story remains either a mystery or a bit of a muddle, depending on how much you like that second half. (Chicago Tribune)

Moviegoers will also see actress Emily Blunt take on an important role in the film's story development.

Less satisfying is the role played by Emily Blunt, as single farmer Sara, who attracts both the younger and older Joes for different reasons. She's mom to Cid (Pierce Gagnon), a young boy with gifts that both astonish and threaten. This part of the film seems more of an interlude, and also as a set-up to a likely Looper sequel. Still, Looper gives us more than enough to chew on, even if it fails to close every loophole. Johnson recently told the New York Times that everything from the French New Wave to the poetry of T.S. Eliot to the songs of David Bowie to the films Casablanca, Cabaret and Witness influenced his scripting and directing choices. (The Star)

Director Rian Johnson steers this thriller into unfamiliar territory with strong directing and a key storyline.

As a writer and director, Johnson has proven himself to be a brilliant student of genre filmmaking. His two previous films, Brick and The Brothers Bloom, were hyper-realistic excercises that flexed the muscles of each genre (film noir and the con man, respectively). With Looper, Johnson takes on science-fiction, but in his own signature approach that comes at the genre from an obtuse angle. He doesn't waste time explaining the time travel technology (Who cares? It works.) or the inherent paradoxes that are unavoidable. (At one point, Abe says, "This time travel crap just fries your brain like an egg." Johnson is telling audiences not to worry about the details, just enjoy the ride.) (California Literary Review)

Film critics found little faults with Looper, mostly minimal issues including make-up and certain story aspects.

The one bit of attention that "Looper" may not want is the slightly odd makeup on Gordon-Levitt. Instead of resembling a younger Willis, the "Dark Knight Rises" actor looks like Burt Reynolds in "Gator." But no matter. Gordon-Levitt is flinty, and Willis, on his A-game, is fiery. Together, they take us on a helluva trip. (New York Daily News)
In the end, Looper is a pleasurable trip into an interesting vision of the future, where we are treated to a thought-provoking series of questions and scenarios, set against wild sci-fi plot devices. It's an ambitious undertaking, and even while not rock-solid in its execution, the (slightly) flawed result of Johnson's endeavors still stands heads above as an example of quality sci-fi crafted by an artistic and creative filmmaker. Unlike its eponymous hitmen, Looper will likely enjoy long tenure in the sci-fi zeitgeist. (Screen Rant)

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