Full disclosure here — this is probably not going to be the least biased review of Looper you will ever read. I have been a huge fan of both Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt since their last collaboration together, 2005′s high school noir send-up Brick, and I have been excited about this movie since I first heard about it last year. Oh, and I also unabashedly love Bruce Willis (but I mean, who doesn’t?). So this is pretty much my dream movie. And I have to say, it did not disappoint.
This is not your typical time travel movie — it’s smart, funny and moving, all at the same time. It take place in the near future (2044, if I’m remembering correctly), and let’s just say the economy doesn’t get any better. Most people are drug addicts, homeless or both, and most of the work lies with criminal organizations, who have the ability to time travel from the future (even though it’s illegal) and have a stranglehold on the economy of the past. They pretty much control everything. In the future, it’s incredibly difficult to dispose of a body, so the mob uses time travel to send back people they want disappeared, who are immediately taken out and disposed of by hitmen called Loopers. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s (and Bruce Willis’) character, Joe, is one of these. The job means security and money (and women and drugs of course), but there’s one caveat — one day your contract will be up, called “closing your loop”, and it means that you have to kill your future self. You get a huge payday, and then approximately 30 years left to live. Failing to do so means a much earlier death.
This logic didn’t really make sense to me (I mean, why even bother telling them what closing their loop means, it would pretty much avoid all complications unless they found out. Or just have another Looper kill them, why do they have to kill themselves?), and some of the time travel logic didn’t always work for me either, but it wasn’t enough to take my enjoyment out of the film. But anyway, Joe’s future self manages to come back without his hood, kick Young Joe’s butt, and run off to try and stop future events from happening, for you see, there’s a new boss in town (called The Rainmaker) in the future, and he’s closing all the loops for reasons only known to himself. Instead of trying to make a run for it, Young Joe decides instead he needs to stop his future self from carrying out his plan of geting rid of this guy before he or she grows up, but of course his current mob boss is after both of them.
The best scenes of this movie are of course when Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt face off with each other, but Emily Blunt’s character, the mother of one of the potential candidates for The Rainmaker, is also wonderful. There aren’t a lot of female characters in this movie — the mob seems to be entirely male-dominated, and women are either mothers or prostitutes or both (Blunt’s character used to be a “party girl” before being forced to come back and care for her son when her sister is killed; Joe’s favourite girl from the club is also a mother), but Blunt’s Sara is tough, smart, and vulnerable, all at the same time, and her love for her child is fierce. The film is ultimately about masculinity (the Loopers and Gat Men are Lost Boys, every one), and how to be a good man if you never had anyone to show you how, and mothers (and fathers) play a huge part in the development of pretty much every character.
It’s a slick, cool action sci fi, but at the same time it makes you feel things, and it makes you think, which is such a rare thing in this genre. There’s really nothing else to say except get your butt to the theatre and see it!