REVIEW: "Looper" Is A High-Quality Action Movie
In today's moviemaking culture, it is rare for a film to come along which is simultaneously engaging and unpredictable—in all the best ways.
The movie follows a man named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who is a looper, a specific kind of assassin. In the 2040s, when the movie is set, time travel has not yet been invented, but it will be. Increased surveillance of everyone makes murder almost impossible, so criminals from the future send their would-be victims back in time and have the loopers kill them and dispose of the bodies. To cover the boss' tracks, even the assassins are killed in an act called "closing the loop"—when a looper kills his future self. Complicated stuff, but it all makes sense in the world of the movie.
To date, Joe has been living the looper lifestyle with few worries or troubles. This changes, though, when it's his turn to close the loop, and his future self (Bruce Willis) appears in the present day—and escapes unharmed. Having two Joes from thirty years apart in the same time frame is obviously problematic, and everyone from young Joe to Joe's boss (Jeff Daniels) to his colleagues (Noah Segan, Garrett Dillahunt) wants to close the loop before something dire happens—but future Joe has an agenda of his own.
Director and writer Rian Johnson has done masterful work with the film, creating a fully believable alternate universe for the characters, and eliciting some incredible and powerful against-type performances from his cast (which also includes Emily Blunt and the delightful Pierce Gagnon). The movie is really all about Joe, though, and Gordon-Levitt (with whom Johnson had previously worked on his first feature film, "Brick") and Willis lead the cast with powerful performances.
On a technical level, the film does quite well, with beautiful cinematography by Steve Yedlin, wonderful orchestrations by Nathan Johnson, and apt production design by Ed Verraux. There really isn't a weak link in the film, which is a refreshing change from the vast majority of current cinema.
"Looper" certainly isn't your average blockbuster action movie, but that's just fine. It's a well-made movie that tells an interesting story in an innovative and engaging manner. Can an audience really ask for anything else?
Looper will be released nationwide on Sept. 28.