Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Noah Segan, Jeff Daniels, Pierce Gagnon
Plot: In the future, if mob bosses wanted someone killed, they'd send that person 30 years into the past to be eliminated by hired guns called loopers. Joe is one such looper, whose nightmare begins when his latest target happens to be his future self.
Review: Looper has been classified as a sci-fi action movie, though to be honest, it seems more like a combination of three different genres. The sci-fi part is in the final third of the film, whereas the first third is more like a crime thriller and the middle section leans toward heavy drama.
Director Rian Johnson, who also wrote the screenplay, makes his flick unique enough to stand out from other films that feature time travel, even when the essence of his story is familiar i.e. changing one's fate. Looper isn't about time travelling per se, but more about consequences of one's actions and the dilemma surrounding it. The best part about Looper is that this fact isn't really evident until we get closer to the film's climax.
I like the way Johnson presents his film in terms of production design. The present day here is 2044, but the world has a retro feel to it, from the cars people drive to the clothes they wear. Even the music has a 60s vibe to it. The only things that are futuristic are the guns and minor gadgets.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is solid as the younger Joe, adopting Bruce Willis' voice and speech patterns and putting on some makeup to resemble him (though the prosthetics on his face were too obvious). As the present Joe, Gordon-Levitt plays someone whose main goal is self preservation for the most part. He is well contrasted by Willis as the older Joe, whose objective is to save someone else. Emily Blunt is equally solid in her role as well, but I'd rather not reveal how she plays into all this. Jeff Daniels is excellent as Joe's employer, especially since he's rarely played a character like this. Deserving special mention are Paul Dano and Garret Dillahunt, who although appear briefly, make a lasting impression.
The middle section of the film is rather slow as Johnson attempts to develop his characters, which may be frustrating if you're waiting for something to happen. He also builds a potential romance between Joe and Blunt's character, which felt like it was tacked on and not entirely necessary.
All in all, Looper is a solid movie and a smart piece of work from a sci-fi angle. Recommended. (4/5)