Updated: Friday, 28 Sep 2012, 2:41 PM CDT
Published : Friday, 28 Sep 2012, 2:08 PM CDT
If there’s one thing that cinema has shown us over the years, it’s that time travel gets confusing. With all the different timelines and possible realities, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Thankfully director Rian Johnson is able to provide a narrative that’s easy to follow and allows the story to shine through.
Looper is the story of one man, Joe. Joe is what’s called a looper, a mob hitman. 30 years into the future, time travel has been invented and is quickly outlawed. The mob (being well versed in criminal activity) figures out how to use time traveling to their advantage and begins sending targets back in time. That’s where loopers like Joe come into play. They wait for the target to appear in front of them, carry out their hit, and collect their pay. However, in order to tie up loose ends, a looper must eventually kill his future self.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as the younger Joe, while Bruce Willis portrays the elder version. Makeup is used to make Gordon-Levitt look more like a younger Willis, but it's his vocal performance and mannerisms that really add to the role. Meanwhile, Willis proves that he is still every bit the action hero you remember, albeit it far too few moments.
Although set in the future, the wardrobe appears to be heavily influenced by classic gangster films. Their vehicles are the same cars you see on the roads today, except they have been crudely modified to run on solar power. Also, some people are telekinetic, although it is mostly viewed as a novelty trick similar to what would be seen at a circus sideshow.
The conflict between the young and older Joe is central to the film, as the two have very different outlooks on life. Younger Joe enjoys the fast life and easy money while the more mature Joe wishes to settle down. However one thing remains consistent about Joe; he is an almost heartless criminal throughout his life. It is this element of Looper that may be difficult for viewers, as neither version of Joe is necessarily a "good guy." It is still enjoyable to see the two battle it out though, even if you're not rooting for one particular side.
Looper is a genre bending thrill ride anchored by a stellar performance from Levitt. Although you may not have a horse in the race, you'll still be excited to see the conclusion. I give Looper 4 CW Austin Stars out of 5.
Looper is rated R for mature content.