Movie Review: “Looper” Is Bleak And Thought-Provoking

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The year is 2044. Time travel hasn’t been invented yet. It will be – thirty years into the future. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works as a looper, an assassin who gets rid of anyone sent back to his time by the criminal organizations of the future. Every looper will have to “close the loop” one day – kill his future self. Joe has to do just that but things don’t exactly go as planned.

Looper, written and directed by Rian Johnson, left me with mixed feelings – I couldn’t quite decide if I liked it or not. On one hand, it has  some pretty unique ideas, interesting visuals and realistic action scenes. On the other hand, it seems somewhat disjointed at times, too rough around the edges – like something is missing. Sometimes it almost seems like the movie tries to cover too much at once. One thing is for sure though – Looper will make you think.

We are presented with a very bleak and ruthless future – not exactly a new idea, but something about Looper‘s version is especially hopeless. There also appears to be an interesting contrast between the city and the country, with Joe representing the city of the future – cold, “lost”, and with Sara (Emily Blunt), who lives on a farm, representing warmth and a sense of togetherness.

While the story is set in the future, and the movie has the necessary futuristic attributes – flying motorcycles, for example – all the futuristic elements seem to blend seamlessly with the familiar sights of today’s world. I found this particular part of the visuals the most interesting – it’s not hard at all to imagine our world evolving into something like that.

Joe’s character is rather unsympathetic for most of the movie – which is not to say that Joseph Gordon-Levitt doesn’t do a great job. His older version though, played by Bruce Willis, is a bit easier to relate to. I was very impressed with Pierce Gagnon, who played Cid, Sara’s son. Emily Blunt’s performance as Sara was especially moving.

Looper is an interesting character study, even if a bit inconsistent, and it is certainly not sugar-coating any of the realities of its version of the future.

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