Time travel is one of those things that if done correctly can really make for a great movie and “Looper” is one of them.
The year is 2044, and America has deteriorated to the point where organized crime appears to be the only true functioning authority. In the year 2074, the Mob harnesses the newly discovered use of time travel to dispose of people they want dead. How? By capturing them then sending them back in time to be executed by Loopers. Why? Because in the future of 2074 people are implanted with location chip technology making it impossible to dispose of someone without the legitimate authorities knowing about it.
Loopers kill their targets in a time period that the ability to track people does not yet exist (2044). Loopers are paid in silver bars that are strapped to their targets backs that they claim after they kill them. If a Looper finds gold on his target however that means that the target (the person he just executed) was his future self, the Looper 30 years later...still with me??
I know right? Fortunately, the movie gives you a very clear visual explanation of this. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper, and after having executed countless targets one day finds himself with the task of having to execute his future self (Bruce Willis), which the Loopers refer to as “closing the loop“.
First off, whatever they did the JGL to make him look more like Bruce Willis didn’t work for me. I mean it’s a minor thing against the backdrop of an awesome story with plenty of great visuals, but I’m left wondering if it was practical effects like make up and prosthetics, or if his face was digitally altered in post production–or a bit of both. Which ever it was it left JGL’s face looking unnatural and for the first 20 minutes, I found it distracting. Once that feeling passed and I got used to it, I was fine.( I’ve read nuggets on the web about how JGL studied Willis’s mannerisms and voice so that he could best portray a younger version of him, and to his credit, it paid off.) I’m not sure whether or not that was at all necessary though since there’s only one real scene where they are together face to face. Willis and JGL and great here, JGL showing that he has the range to be a dramatic actor as well as an action star and Willis continues to give us the aged veteran badass we all know and love.
But Pierce Gagnon is the pleasant stand out in this movie to me. Pierce plays the role of Cid, a little boy in 2044 who turns out to be someone very important in 2074 and as a result of which turns out to be the center of this movie’s plot. This little boy was creepy. And I won’t spoil anything by going any further than that.
Emily Blunt who plays Cid’s mom Sara does a good job here as well but when the story focuses on her, Cid and Joe, the movie stops being the pure action thriller that I thought I was getting and evolves into something more. I can see though how for some this would be disappointing because the movie moves at a very fast pace and then almost stops on a dime then slows down once Sara and Cid are introduced, but I think the movie does a good job of balancing out the drama and action for the rest of the way.
Again I have no desire to spoil the movie for you so I’ll just say that “Looper” is very good. The downshift in the movie’s pace midway might sour some who wanted a pure sci-fi action piece but the performances and visuals Ryan Johnson has put together on this film certainly justify it. Go see this movie and get your mind BLOWN.