Movies: Looper

Starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt
Directed By: Rian Johnson
Written By: Rian Johnson
Endgame Entertainment, 2012
R; 119 min
4.5 stars (out of 5)


In a twist on that old philosophical question that wine-soaked intellectuals ask one another at parties—you know, "If you could go back in time, would you kill Hitler?"—we have Looper, the story of how Joe in 2044 must defeat his future self (who has come back in time) before his future self can kill a little boy who grows up to be a really bad man.

If you look at it another way, it's also a creepy-kid horror story through a sci-fi filter.

Either way, it works.

As younger Joe, Gordon-Levitt does a remarkable job channeling Bruce Willis, who plays the older version. The mannerisms and facial expressions are spot on. It's almost a shame the two get so little screen time together, but of course the movie would be awfully short if they did.

The plot itself is twisty and at least somewhat engaging, though if you think about it much you can easily figure out the likely outcome. For a while I felt it could have gone one of two ways, but before long it was clear where the solution lay. Still, it was a good story and well acted. There were some places where the film dragged, and the love scene between Joe and Sara came somewhat out of left field—one of those things where someone said they clearly needed to establish some kind of relationship, or they needed some sex/romance or something—but on the whole a very solid offering. Gordon-Levitt has been showing strong acting chops since Inception, or even (500) Days of Summer, and Looper is another one for him to be proud of.

Willis, meanwhile, does his thing, and Jeff Daniels does a passable job as a would-be Jeff Bridges. (Actually, I've been enjoying Daniels lately, what with his turn in The Newsroom. But in Looper he really looks like they wanted Bridges and had to go with another Jeff.)

I'm thinking there's an outside chance for this one to get an original screenplay nomination. It certainly has the "original" bit in its favor. And hey! I have another one to add to my list of people who have the same birthday (different year, though; he's older): writer/director Rian Johnson. Welcome to my party, Rian. Give yourself a pat on the back from me.

No comments: