Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
There was a moment during director Rian Johnson's sci-fi thriller 'Looper', that moment being when Young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Old Joe (Bruce Willis) were having their chat at the diner that I was thinking that 'Looper' is on the verge of being the best movie I've ever seen.  At that moment this movie was just that good.  Now as the movie went on, for me personally, 'Looper' didn't maintain that same level of awe that it had me in, for a number of reasons, but 'Looper' in the final analysis was still a darn good movie.

In a not too distant future from ours, Young Joe will inform us that in this not-too-distant future time travel will become a reality, though it's highly illegal.  Right now this time travel is only being used by highly organized criminal syndicates who are using this completely awesome tech for the mundane task of having their enemies killed, since disposing of bodies is damn near impossible in the 2070's, this task being handled by Loopers, such as young Joe, who shoots these cowled time travelers and then casually disposes of these bodies for some reward.

Every once in a while a Looper has the task of killing their future self, called closing the loop or getting rid of loose ends in the future, and these Loopers seem to be pretty cool with this.  The alternative is letting the loop run which… well… you don't really want to do because we've seen what happens to a Looper that allows his loop to run.  It's not pretty. 

As you have probably already seen in the trailer, Old Joe is sent back on that tarp to get taken out by Young Joe, but something strange happened in the future to Old Joe which made for a different kind of murder experience for Young Joe.  In short, Old Joe
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escapes and Old Joe needs to correct some things in his past to make things right for his present… which is Young Joe's future.  It would be really helpful for Old Joe if Young Joe would just take his advice and get out of town because anything that happens to Young Joe will also happen to Old Joe, but Young Joe really wants Old Joe dead so he can have his present back.  Got me?  And Old Joe running around doing stuff has serious ramifications for the future and such the Boss Man (Jeff Daniels), who happens to be from the future, has every available man with a gun looking for Old Joe.  Young Joe has to be found too, but Old Joe will mess some stuff up if he isn't found and soon.

Old Joe has plan, something to do with a supremely evil mobster in his day called The Rainmaker, a hot chick that runs a farm (Emily Blunt) and her bratty four year old (Pierce Gagnon) and it's Old Joe's plan that tosses this movie into some familiar territory and as such stops it from being a great as I was thinking it was going to be.   Nonetheless, Old Joe has a plan and Young Joe is stuck in the middle of this plan with some really, truly difficult decisions lying at his feet.  And the movie is kind of awesome again.

Every once in a while, Rian Johnson writes and directs a movie and when this happens we are fairly confident that we are going to have a good day.  The high school mystery 'Brick' was a good day, the adventure con 'The Brothers Bloom' was also a good day and to the surprise of no one, sitting through the 'Looper' was a good day.  Why was 'Looper' so good?  For one it is written so smartly and so cleverly and Johnson handles the conundrum that is time travel with wit and panache.  Time travel is strange, conceptually speaking, because while it doesn't exist there are still certain things about it which have to make sense in our brains for us to accept the implausibility of it and 'Looper' does a really great job of bringing it all together.  The story doesn't get caught up in the minutiae of it all, thank goodness, just the larger concepts of time travel, the individual effects, the ripple effects, the probabilities and the possibilities.  There are some issues I had, but it was more with the reasoning than with concepts.  Using time travel to clear up loose ends seems somewhat of a waste, and you have to admire a criminal organization that has the intellect to care about the ramifications of paradox events.  I'm thinking most criminals could care less.  And why does the Looper have to kill these people who get transported thirty years in the past?  Unless of course a dead body can't time travel.  This also leads me to another thought, that being if dead bodies in the future are hard to explain off, then missing people are easy to explain off?  What a strange time the 2070's will be.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis were great together, also doing a fairly decent job on selling us that were a variation of the same person, even though they couldn't look more different if they tried.  The futuristic setting was still plausibly realistic, the movie did have traditional action in the form of car crashes and shooting and fighting and chase scenes and what not, but even when we were simply listening to dialog, there was still a sense of excitement in the air because the film was so well scripted.

As we mentioned earlier there was a lull in the middle in which the film lost its sense of originality, falling into a more familiar territory and almost felt like the film fell into a bit of a rut, but I imagine we had to get from one point to another and this was the best way to get there, without us giving anything away.

But aside from that, 'Looper' is the best kind of movie.  An action film with a brain.  That's opposed to a stupid action movie… some of which we also love, or a really smart movie that's boring.  Which we don't love quite as much.  That's like a supermodel who can cook.  Rare and appreciated.
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