This film is fresh, it’s quick and it’s clever. You either get it or you don’t. By the end of the journey home you might have worked out what you thought of it but’s that’s unlikely. The thing is with Looper there are bits which are original and new and suspenseful and then in contrast there are other bits (most notably at the beginning of the movie) where it feels slow and poorly conceived. The set ups are a little complex but the pay offs are what makes this movie so interesting.
So first the set up: we begin the movie in Kansas 2044 where Joe a ‘Looper’ introduces us to his rather dubious profession which involves killing people at the request of his boss, Abe, played by Jeff Daniels who was sent from the future to supervise the hits. It becomes immediately apparent that the Loopers are not as untouchable as they first appear with the prospect of ‘closing the loop’ meaning a Looper has to kill their future self and thus the game is over. All this is presented coherently but in places it could be more believable.
But once this is established the action begins with the arrival of a rather aggressive Bruce Willis. He plays the old version of Joe and once Joe realises his employers are ‘closing the loop’ on him the trouble begins with all guns blazing and (surprisingly in a film of this genre) many a moral quandary for our experienced assassins. ‘The Rainmaker’ is a character who wants to close the loop on everyone involved and it soon becomes clear the crux of ‘Looper’ is who is ‘the Rainmaker’? What follows is a battle between Joe and his future self over how to resolve the threat posed to the Loopers
.There are some surprises along the way but like all time-travel flicks there’s a level of complexity which isn’t always entertaining. There are some wasted characters such as ‘Susie’ who doesn’t seem to serve any real purpose and some aspects feel out of place in what is principally a sci-fi movie.
However, this film is most interesting because writers like Rian Johnson aren’t afraid to try something new, to switch between characters, to put you in the midst of the action then stop you in your tracks with a scene from a character’s memory. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) shows leading man capabilities in yet another intelligent, box-office hit and Emily Blunt manages to put herself firmly back on the map after her slightly dull turn in ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’. Not forgetting young actor Pierce Gagnon playing Cid (Sara’s son) who arguably makes a breakthrough performance alongside Hollywood’s current ‘ones to watch’.
For some this film will be a complex mess of action, unexplained time-travel and unusual direction. For others this film will be exciting, thought-provoking and fresh. It’s definitely a step in the direction of intelligent movie-making backed up by a strong cast. Overall potentially controversial but well worth a watch. 4 Stars