Director: Rian Johnson
Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Young Joe
A young, drug loving hitman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is living in the year 2042 but he whacks people brought back in time by the mob from the year 2072. Hey, it’s a living! Things get complicated when his latest mark winds up being himself 30 years from now (Bruce Willis). Time to close that loop!
There’s lot of hype floating in the air about writer/director Rian Johnson’s Sci Fi jamboree LOOPER and I time traveled to my screening with high expectations. Thankfully, I came out of there happier than Michael Douglas at the Playboy Mansion. LOOPER was one of them pictures that managed to pull off so much all at once with smarts, skills and heart. It had a bit of everything for everybody! It was a brainy Sci-Fi flick having to do with time travel (they used that device in novel ways, one scene will have you cringing like a straight man watching Glee). Time travel movies can be tricky; plot holes, confusion or loose ends often comes with them. But here I was pretty much left unscathed. The well rounded screenplay (by director Rian Johnson) and the particular attention to details resulted in a lack of muck ups (I didn’t pick up on any, then again, I’m a moron) and the ins and outs of the time travel business were pretty crystal clear to me, aside from one small scene that left me scratching my head (again, am a moron). For the most part though, this one went OUT OF ITS WAY to cover its bases and I respected that!
Simultaneously, it was a rousing action film! I was treated to a handful of physical get downs that floored me in their kinetic, no holds barred and “f*ck yeah” inducing demeanor. One bit in particular having to do with Bruce Willis going buck nuts had me howling “Yippie Ki Yay Motherf*cker” at the screen. Pure action goodness! But wait there’s more! How about a gripping character study with meaty relationships? You bet! Great actors can do marvelous things with a stand-out script and that’s exactly what happened here. Old Joe's plight had me man-bitching a couple of times and the nuanced relationship (s) Young Joe developed moved me as well. The contrast between the two Joes personalities (young and damaged versus older and wiser) hooked me in too. Every time they were onscreen together, the film was hit with a dose of Roids and I would sit up on the edge of my seat. I so esteemed the layered nature of the movie. It gave all of its lead characters a substantial motive behind their dire actions which upped the stakes of the narrative. There was no clean-cut right or wrong as to the heroes. They often threaded on the GREY line. And I understood where they came from, loved them for it and the movie left it up to my simpleton self to decide where my alliances lied.
Speaking of the characters; big kudos on the casting! Joseph Gordon-Levitt (in an odd face makeup, I thought he had just grown up, but they actually tried to make him look like Bruce Willis, didn’t see it) carried the bulk of the affair on his shoulders with his natural, focused and engrossing display. Bruce Willis was asked to hit more notes than he has been tapping in his more recent movies. He was vulnerable and I felt for the guy. Willis gave a commanding show! He was NOT on auto pilot and as a fan, it was tight to see him in a movie that he obviously gave a shit about beyond the pay check. On her end Emily Blunt once again delivered an impeccable US accent, brought intensity to her part and further heart to the story. Shit even the bad guys were tops! Noah Segan (yeah from Deadgirl) owned it as Kid Blue, the spoiled nutso eager to please while Jeff Daniels stole every scene he was in as the charismatic and subdued gangster that you don’t want to mess with. NOTE: Special mention goes to young Pierce Gagnon in his first role as Cid. He definitely sold it! Should be the beginning of a promising career.
Visually, Johnson’s eye was simply astounding and his random knack at communicating his story via imagery as opposed to dialogue quite gripping. I loved his use of wide shots, his all over the place camera moves (upside down shots, nice), he handled his actions scenes in an old fashion manner and when things got a little bit more extreme, he would often use slow motion to accentuate the moment. His style was remarkable as it danced between mainstream and art house, hence giving the whole a very particular vibe. Think poetry as told by a bulldozer. Not sure if that makes any sense, but it does to me, all I can do. Add to all that love a handful of turns that I didn’t see coming, nods to The Terminator (straight up at a certain point I expected “so and so” to say “Sarah Connor?”), witty dialogue (right out of a film noir), deliciously bleak humor and an ending that took me for a loop the loop (Get it? I suck) and you get a gem of a Sci-Fi action film, one that should satisfy fans of the genre and non-fans alike.
Any peeves? My sole complaint was that there was pacing issues in the middle section. I kept waiting for the flick to kick into its next gear and it took a little bit more time that I would’ve hoped for that to go down. Ten minutes could have been shaved off in my useless opinion. Other than that, NADA! LOOPER did it all and did it very well at that! A MUST SEE!
We're treated to grisly bullet hits, one scene of mutilation that will have you wincing and some gory scenes that I won’t reveal here in the name of not spoiling the surprises.
T & A
We get Piper Perabo showing us her tangerines and that GREAT BUMPER! Thanks Pipe! I'm a better man for it.
LOOPER made for a full cinematic chow down! Intelligent, with layered characters/relationships, exhilarating action set pieces, a touching love story (ies), solid acting across the board and stunning imagery. And any movie that has me root for 3 people with 3 different agendas, resulting in me being conflicted as to whom to side with deserves a pat on the ass and hookers on the house. Granted I felt the middle section lagged a tad and could have used some trimming, but I was never bored, so little harm was done. Looper moved me, elated me, wowed and sucker punched me! Can’t ask for much more from a night a the movies! SEE IT! Then see DREDD :)
Some cut out (for pacing) Shanghai scenes will be reinstated in the film for its Chinese release to appeal to Chinese audiences.
This is the third time director Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt work together. They did Brick, The Brothers Bloom and now Looper together.