Film Review

By Joey Düker 

Looper is the upcoming sci-fi thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception) and Bruce Willis (you know who).

In the future, time-travel is invented and immediately prohibited. Only the mob uses it to send its victims back in time, to the year 2044. Assassins – the eponymous loopers – await the targets, kill them and dispose of the body. Part of the contract is to kill any target without hesitation and failure to do so is punished with death. When looper Joe (JGL) realizes that his target is his 30-year-older self, he hesitates and Old Joe (Willis) escapes. The mob sends its henchman after the two, while Young Joe tries to capture Old Joe himself to fix his mistake.

You might think that Looper shamelessly steals from other time-travel flicks. But the movie does a fantastic job at creating its own believable dystopian future. Social decay, technologies and other novelties are only subtly hinted at. Inevitable plot holes or paradoxes are nullified by the characters’ refusal to explain or think about it too much. For instance, when Willis’ Joe is confronted by JGL’s Joe about the implications of time-travel, Willis bumps his fist on the table and shouts: “It doesn’t matter!” What’s more, the story repeatedly shifts its pace and themes, which is a surprising and pleasant substitute for plot twists.

The dynamic between old Willis and young JGL made me chuckle more than once and the difficult relationship of their characters is authentic. Who doesn’t feel like punching one’s past self in the face for being an idiot every now and then? The superb performance of supporting actors such as Jeff Daniels, Emily Blunt, and Paul Dano adds to the experience.

Also, I was happy to see that there was no overuse of CGI – a common defect of contemporary sci-fi movies. The make-up artists of this film did an incredibly job at making Gordon-Levitt look like a younger Willis. In fact, it works so well that I was sometimes distracted by how much JGL’s appearance was changed.

There is so much more I want to talk about, such as the splendid dialogue, the amazing child actor, or the specifics of time-travel in this film. But I think it suffices to say that, despite the tough competition in 2012, Looper is one of the best action films of the year.

Looper will be released on 29th November, 2012 in the Netherlands.


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