Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels, Pierce Gagnon, Xu Qing, Tracie Thoms, Frank Brennan, Garret Dillahunt, Nick Gomez and Marcus Hester.
This year have been pretty much full of surprises, movies that seemed like the last thing on earth that would surprise you, they turned out quite spectacular. With interesting, intelligent and smart premises backed up by strong ideas, typical genre movies were turning out to be one of the best movies of the year. There is a long list of them, from Chronicle to The Cabin in the Woods and from Prometheus or The Amazing Spider-Man (most people think otherwise) to Looper. I am overwhelmed with what i watched in Looper, it was actually insanely good. A few months back, Looper was selected as the Opening film for Toronto International Film Festival which was quite surprising since this movie didn't looked like your typical prestigious film festival opener, its a genre movie. But the trailer hinted towards the fact that we might be in for an actual great movie, filled with amazing ideas and made with a smart script. Rian Johnson directed this movie whose Brick was very praised among the film festival and indie circuit. Johnson must have been a fan of sci-fi or else i wouldn't have expected a filmmaker like him to make such a movie. This is not something you always see, this is something different and something far superior than usual Hollywood crap.
Looper is a Sci-Fi movie with a story that revolves around time travel. It shows us that by the year 2074, they invented time travel but was immediately outlawed. Criminal organizations still use it to send the people they want to kill in the past to be killed by specially paid assassins called Loopers with silver bars that are strapped with the targets. Due to tracking devices in the future, it is impossible for anyone to kill and dispose of the body so that is why they have to do it like this way. If they want to end the contract with the loopers, their future self is send to them with gold bars attached. If they fails to do so, they'll be killed too. The main character in the movie is Joe Simmons (Gordon-Levitt), who is a looper himself. Things gets bad when he encounters himself, his older self is sent back to be killed by his younger self. I know it sounds quite interesting and odd at the same time, but it works quite well in the movie. Looper's ideas seems to be inspired by movies like 12 Monkeys, Inception, Terminator 2 etc but it stands on its own with a story that rises above all time travel cliches going in deep and showing us how does it feels like to be caught up in such situations. Movie starts with 2044, by which United States has suffered economic collapse and increase in crime growth. We are also told that in 10% of the population, mutation have occurred which gave them telekinetic powers. One of Joe's friend Seth (Dano) was suppose to close his own loop but hesitated, the mafia captures him and starts mutilating him. His older self gets the same injuries as young Seth and he is killed. This mafia company ensures that the loopers do their work and is controlled by Abe (Daniels) who is sent from the future.
Old Joe is played by Bruce Willis, who is here from future to kill the rainmaker as a child because his wife was killed because of him. After the confrontation at first, the old and young Joe both meets at the diner which is where young Joe eats regularly after he finishes his job. You know that both of them are actually the same person but from different times. They both have different dreams, goals, thoughts and perception of their life. At first, the young Joe comes off as slightly the bad guy. We see what happened with the old Joe, we see his life story and its all really touching and sad but we know that young Joe is highly ambitious and he wants to go far away from this place when he has enough silver bars. He wont hesitate to do anything in order to make sure that it happens, even if means that he has to betray his friend. But later on, towards the end after everything that happens, what young Joe does to stop the old Joe from doing something bad is where the whole good guy/bad guy perception of yours totally changes. I found this swap really interesting. You see a person is never bad himself, its just that bad things happens to him. One was trying to avenge the death of the only person that he loved in his life by travelling all the way to the past and destroy the person. The other person wants to have a life away from all the madness that exists here, whatever happens with him in the future he doesn't know himself but he is driven to achieve that something that means everything to him. Both Joe's crosses path with a farmer mother and her very young child. Sara (Blunt) is the birth mother of a young child Cid (Gagnon) who is one of the three children on the target list of old Joe.
I like how things happens in this movie from the very start. No big mindless explosions or some lame glamorous intro to a supposed cool sci-fi character, nothing like that. Johnson slowly shows us what their lives are, he makes us a part of it by giving us a great insight. He isn't interested in showing the outside beauty of a futuristic world but he is determined to show us the harsh reality and the bitter side of what the future did to everyone. The screenplay to this movie has been written in a very excellent and thoughtful way. It peels off layers slowly by revealing us the characters, the bigger picture that surrounds them with some really surprising twists and turns to a stunning payoff at the end. You see, when the movie ends, its not the visual effects or the mind-effing concept that will impress you but instead, what happens with the characters and what they have to do in the movie is what will stay with you for quite a long time. How often does something like this happens in sci-fi movies these days? So its no doubt that Looper is one of the best and truly original science fiction movie in its depiction of a certain world since Children of Men and maybe Inception. Rian Johnson did a great job here.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt have always impressed me with his every movie, that is something i always say about him. He is no less here, in fact this might just be the best thing he did as a lead actor in a sci-fi movie. His makeup, which makes him look kind of like the younger Bruce Willis is a bit distracting at first. It looks weird but you get easily comfortable with it after a while. And the best thing he does is to get the style, the way Willis talks or walks and his whole persona right. On the other hand, it was nice to finally see Bruce Willis in a movie i was interested in watching. He has been doing some really weird low budget action movies recently but this is something that he got right. He gets to play someone with a full on character back story and a character driven narrative to chew on. I thought he did a really nice job in both the man who is in love part and the man who is avenging the death of his lover part. A real nice surprise was Emily Blunt and her really good performance, she gets the accent right and she gets the emotions right. About the kid, well his performance was something that really shocked me. He was so good in every scene, its not easy to make a kid of that age act. Bravo on such a surprisingly good performance, he might just go all the way from here. The visual effects in the movie are really well done, nothing too flashy or too much crammed stuff. In fact for the most part, the movie doesn't needs to show off that part of it which i don't think any other movie of its type would have opted for. The action in this movie is truly old fashioned, i really liked it.
The story of Looper, the plot is not quite tough to follow and you can easily understand everything that is going on since most of the action is quite grounded. The moral dilemmas, the "human" part of it is what really makes it perfect. Its about loneliness, the things you do to fill the gap, guilt, sacrifice and then the awful side of it. It raises a question as to why a person has to make the same mistake over and over again. Why does he has to do something that he know is going to make things worse for him and then in order to make things right, we intentionally or not, do the same thing again. Its thought provoking as it is entertaining with its interesting, intelligent and top of the class narrative which offers you a blend of smart action, smart sci-fi and straight from the heart emotions. Most of the time travelling movies creates these webs of really complicated plots that in the end, no matter what they do with it doesn't feel either believable or satisfying. But Looper ends on a note that completely erases everything that happened so far in the movie in a minute. It is as if the movie in a very smart way closed its own loop without killing itself with it.