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Looper – film review

October 2, 2012


 Reviewed on Thursday 27th September 2012

Written and directed by Rian Johnson. Starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels. Running time: 118 mins.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a young punk contract killer, whose role it is to execute undesirables sent back through time by his gangland masters. When his jaded older self (played by Bruce Willis) arrives from the future, Joe must stop him from rubbing out his boss as a young child.

A refreshingly smart and intelligent sci-fi thriller, combining narrative elements from classic time-travel yarns like The Terminator, Back To The Future and Twelve Monkeys, Looper is part Inception, part Verhoeven gun-fest, with a touch of Stephen King’s telekinetic moppet shenanigans thrown in for good measure. Johnson is clever in the way he continually re-directs our sympathies back and forth between the older and younger versions of the Gordon-Levitt/Willis character (Willis’ motivation for infanticide, for example, is to save his wife from being murdered in the future). None of the characters are cut and dried – black and white. It’s all shades of grey in terms of morality. Even the villians are not neccessarily unlikeable. Interestingly, the chief antagonist (known only as The Rainmaker) remains largely unseen and yet his influence is felt throughout. The film is surprisingly violent in parts. And I haven’t seen so many bullets fly in one sci-fi movie since Verhoeven’s Total Recall or Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The film is well-paced and the low-tech future world of 2044 is convincingly realized. The action sequences are non-showy and well-staged. Acting chops are strong all round, with the stand-out being the impressive performance given by Pierce Gagnon as Emily Blunt’s troubled youngster. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him up for a best supporting actor nom at the Oscars next year.

On the downside, Gordon-Levitt’s prosthetic Bruce Willis mask is quite bizarre       and distracting at times. Surely audiences are sophisticated enough to accept Gordon-Levitt as a younger version of Willis’ character, without having to resort to prosthetics? The only misstep in what is ultimately a thoughtful and entertaining thriller.

Similar in tone to Nolan’s mind-bender (although much less overblown and self-important) – the intricate plot of Looper unfolds with plenty of twists and turns,     which lead to a wholly satisfying pay-off at the end.

Viewed at the Piccadilly Cinemas, North Adelaide, September 27th 2012.

Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos   and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes right-brained people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies.

From → film reviews

  1. This is a great review, man! Thank you for posting this. I’m glad that you liked this movie, it looks really good.


    • Thanks Wes! Yep, it’s a good one alright – perhaps one of the best of the year? And thanks for commenting! Really appreciate it. 🙂


      • Wes B. permalink

        No problem man, I can’t wait to hear more from you.


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