Looper [DVD Release]



Directed and Written by; Rian Johnson

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels

It’s 2044 and time travel hasn’t been invented yet, but in thirty years time it will have been- and would be immediately outlawed and incredibly illegal. Only high end Mafia-like mob bosses control its use in the form of sending future criminals into the past, back to 2044 to be ‘liquidated’- shot with a blunderbuss and swiftly cremated to get rid of any evidence of their existence. The people employed by the mob bosses of the future are called ‘Loopers’, troubled men who feel have sought solitude in their safety and reassurance, in that they are given a clean slate and a gun in their hand- paid in pure silver ingots on the condition they never to let a target escape.

All is well in a dystopian Kansas City as Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Dark Knight Rises 2012)- a Looper- lives the life of hedonistic luxury. Until one night a fellow looper, Seth (Paul Dano, There Will Be Blood 2007) visits him in a frantic panic. Seth had been informed by his future self of a mysterious character called the Rainmaker, whom overran all future crime bosses and is now cancelling the contracts of all loopers- sending the future selves back to be murdered by their younger self. Joe is unnerved at the unexpected turn of events and hides Seth in his apartment, as failing to close your loop is considered a very bad thing indeed. Following a visit to his boss Abe (Jeff Daniels), Joe regrettably reveals Seth’s location. Seth is tortured in an albeit clever succession of scenes where his future self is scarred by mutilations on Seth in the present time.

Joe becomes ever increasingly paranoid, job after job he wonders when his time will come, as more and more loops are closed and the assassins are paid off in a large sum of golden ingots. To soothe his anxieties he delves deeper into drugs and partying. When the time does comes and Joe is confronted to close his own loop, he shoots his older self (Bruce Willis, RED 2010) without hesitation, he collects his gold and retires to China where he continues his life of luxury. He meets a girl and falls in love, and as the money begins to run dry, his thirty year loop is concluding. Now this is where things get even cooler.

This time around in the thirty year loop, Joe hesitates as he recognises himself in the older man (they usually wear a cloth bag over their heads). The older Joe then proceeds to make an escape and all hell breaks loose around the city. Joe’s employers are after both future Joe and young Joe to rid of any evidence or paradox in the time continuum. In an excellent scene at a diner, parading Gordon-Levitt’s method esque acting to almost mimic the incredible Bruce Willis, older Joe explains that the Rainmaker in 2044 lives in Kansas and needs to be killed if their loops are to be kept open. Joe still fully intends to kill his future self to fulfil his contract and escape to early retirement but the feud between to two Joe’s is interrupted by Abe’s henchmen and they both flee.

Following the coordinates he had managed to rip of the map older Joe was following to find the Rainmaker, Joe had led himself to a Farm House owned by the beautiful Sara (Emily Blunt, The Adjustment Bureau 2011) a telekinetic, whom lives her son Cid. As Joe and Sara grow closer, Joe learns more about Cid and his already troubled life, surrounded by an intriguing secret… When the family and Joe are attacked by a henchman, Cid secret is revealed- that he is a powerful telekinetic and can lift people in the air and explode them- awesome. It is at that moment Joe realises who Cid is, the future Rainmaker.

Older Joe battles his way to find the Rainmaker, in the meantime blasting his way through Abe’s whole mafia company in a very Die Hard epic sort of way (including a few signature ‘Mother Fuckers’ here and there) and eventually arriving at the farm. He stubbornly tries to shoot Cid, but as Sara stands in the way and young Joe can only watch helplessly from a distance, he has an epiphany- He suddenly sees that old Joe’s killing of Sara will cause a motherless, alienated Cid to eventually transform himself into the Rainmaker, thus perpetuating the loop in time that old Joe was ironically attempting to disrupt. In a dramatic scene of realisation and melancholy, young Joe decides to sacrifice himself to erase old Joe from existence, sparing Sara’s life and thus preventing the Rainmaker from arising.

This film is incredible. Gordon-Levitt, Willis and Blunt all make this film what it is- a sci-fi that has so many subtle elements of reality, it’s almost too believable that time travel really could exist in the near future. Their acting, especially Willis and Gordon-Levitt’s keep the film in a giddy interest in the science fiction as well as marshalling the audience into feeling emotion through the action, romance and a douse of comedy. With a genre so delicate as time travel, you feel like there could be a lot of loose ends, but the film completes itself and celebrates science fiction at its very best. It’s so neatly worked out, beautifully shot (beside a few too many lens glares) and the soundtrack isn’t half bad either- it will leave you feeling intelligent and engaged for every second of the story.

If you enjoy time travelling, hover bikes and blunderbusses- it doesn’t even matter, you should just watch this film.


– Christopher Asher

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