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Archive for the ‘Looper’ Category

Looper

At times it’s hard to wrap your mind around the complex theories that are going on in Looper, but the genius of it is how simple it tries to be in its storytelling so that you can really dive into them.  Young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a looper.   Time travel hasn’t been invented yet, but it will be in 30 years.  When it is, the mob sends people back to the past so that people like Joe can kill them and dispose of the bodies.  Joe is paid very well.  He enjoys the lifestyle of a young guy with way too much money on his hands.   He’s a young free-wheeling drug addict, who thinks he can escape time, but like all Looper’s his time in the buisness is short.  In the end every looper must “close his loop”.  When that happens an older version of themselves is sent back in time for them to kill, and they are richly rewarded for their own disposal.

Closing your loop may seem startling, but all loopers know it must be done.  Joe is about to have to close his loop, but something goes wrong and the older version of himself (Bruce Willis) gets away.  Now the people who are in charge of the loopers are after both him and his older self.   It doesn’t matter that Joe wants to close the loop.  He’s in just as much trouble.

Old Joe wants to find a way to get back to the future, and back to his wife, while everyone including his younger self is hunting him down.  He thinks he knows how to do it too.  In the future it seems someone named “The Rainmaker” has become the glorified king of the mob world.  He’s trying to end the looper program and close all the loops.  If Old Joe can find and kill his younger self, then he may have found his way back.

There’s a strange thing that happens halfway through Looper, and it’s the reason why the film is more than just a science fiction/time travel film and also the reason why it’s the best film I’ve seen this year.  It becomes less about the science of things, and more about the relationship between a young woman Sara (Emily Bunt) and Young Joe who ends up needing her help.  Even more important is the relationship Young Joe begins to form with Sara’s son Cid.  It’s the connections between this three that make Looper something really special.

Bruce Willis is great as Old Joe because it’s mostly a supporting role…even though he and Young Joe are technically the same person.  At the beginning of the film they both have the same motivation, and that is to survive at all costs.  As the film goes on Old Joe’s memory begins to faulter and change based on Young Joe’s actions.  He’s trying to hold on to the memory of his wife but it’s slowly slipping away.  The actions of the younger gravely impact his older self, and they begin to find out that they are very different from one another.

Gordon-Leavitt has reached the absolute pinnacle of his acting career which I think really started taking off a couple years ago with 500 Days of Summer.  He’s proven that he can be a viable leading man.  Looper may be his greatest achievement yet.  You see him grow and morph over the course of the film.  He begins to understand that path that has been laid out before him, and he may have the ability to change everything.  He is nowhere near the same person he was when this all started.

Director Rian Johnson has created an extremely intelligent, thought provoking film, and is not afraid to take the time to build all of these fantastic characters within a unique work.  His debut Brick, also starring Gordon-Levitt, was a fantastic take on a film noir within the setting of a high school mystery.  He’s a directer that showed a ton of promise then, and one that is now showing that he may be one of the elite new directors in cinema.   I’m really hoping that Looper also marks a long career between director and actor as well.

Grade: A