In Theatres: 
Sep 28, 2012
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 59 Minutes

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has appeared in all three major films by Rian Johnson? He can be seen in the crowd of a party in The Brothers Bloom.

The year is 2044. The world has become poverty stricken, with the majority of people living in tents and even some on curbsides. The only people capable of living a good life are the Loopers, hitmen hired to terminate the lives of whoever they're assigned to. It all seems like a standard hitman scenario, except that the victims are from the year 2074. See, time travel hasn't been invented yet. But in 2074, time travel is alive, yet very illegal and the only people capable of using it are coporate suits. Whenever one of these men want someone dead, they'll kidnap them and send them hand-tied and bagged into the past, where a Looper is ready to shoot on sight. It's the perfect kill. After all, who'd look for someone 30 years into the past? No man knows this job as well as Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), one of the best Loopers alive. But when Joe discovers his future self (Bruce Willis) has been sent back in time for execution at the hands of his younger self, everything changes. After failing to kill on sight, young Joe seeks out the trail of Older Joe so life can go back to normal. But as it is with every case of time travel, not everything is what it seems. And one thing is certain: Things are going to get messy. 

Looper is the third feature film from Director Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) and undoubtedly the best film of his career thus far. Johnson does what very few directors/writers can by establishing this extremely believable world filled with junkies and control heavy law enforcers. Every character, word and action feels as real as the next which sets the audience up for some great emotional journeys when the roads grow shorter. Time travel films are no easy matter when it comes to writing, but Johnson makes it seem easy with beautiful moments filled with witty and charming lines. As it is with all great writing, it's rarely noticed unless an actor plays the character as accurately as they were on paper. All three major actors, Gordon-Levitt, Willis and Emily Blunt, practically transform into these characters in order to share the wonderful story Johnson has prepared. Even Jeff Daniels brings an enjoyable performance of a powerful hippy with a straight laced mind. But there isn't a doubt when it comes to performances that everyone is outmatched against the powerhouse Pierce Gagnon who plays Cid, the curious five year old with a troubled past. To go any further would be an injustice to the story, but it's hard to look at anyone else's performance while Cid is on screen. What else can I say? The kid has got it. 

In fact, it's hard to go into deep discussion about Looper without having seen it, as trailers and other promotional material went in a very subtle direction in telling the story without diving into the actual material. This is a feat that is rarely visited in Hollywood, so it's a wonderful surprise to witness, especially when a story like that of Looper's is so beautifully unraveled. One could watch the trailers a few hundred times (Lord knows I did) and still not be able to predict the outcome of the story placed in front of them. This shows a massive amount of trust put into Johnson as a director as this is a large compliment to everyone involved with the film. Looper is a story that deserves both the silence before it and the acclaim following after the credits have rolled. 

As young Joe begins to find friendship in the form of Emily Blunt's tough-skinned Sara, the pacing for Looper finds itself slowing but catches itself before a majority of the audience has time to realize the issue. It's a minor flaw that is majorly overlooked, courtesy of these brilliant characters and writing I've spoken of. And with this one moment of minor dragging, there are a handful of other scenes that steal your breath and not give it back until the last second. It is in these moments that any other issue or critique can be wiped clean in comparison. Johnson knows what he's doing and he rarely lets his audience forget that. 

Once again, it is extremely difficult to discuss the story of Looper in depth without giving away some fantastic unveiling moments, so we'll wrap up here as I cannot speak more highly of it. Rian Johnson has crafted something that captures true sci-fi elements: An original story, beautiful cinematography, brilliant writing and some career-best performances all wrapped in the breath-taking graphics and inspired directing. Looper is an immediate sci-fi classic and will stay with us until film's end. Congratulations to Johnson and company for making yourselves part of film history. 

Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
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