“Looper” (2012) Review
I have to admit, I was somewhat biased going into the theater to see “Looper”. First off, I am a sucker for sci-fi films and also a big Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan. So, when I first saw the trailer, I immediately knew what I would be doing the weekend of September 28th. What could be better than a time travel story involving one of my favorite current actors? That’s when I saw the name Rian Johnson…. For those that don’t recognize the name, Rian Johnson teamed up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt once before for a modern-day noir film, “Brick”. If you have not had the chance to see this unique film, and think a high school, illicit drug-focused noir story sounds interesting, by all means, see that movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and could not wait to see what movie magic this duo could come up with next…. Back to “Looper”.
So, with my hopes sky high, I entered the theater and began my viewing. Let me say that what followed was one of the best, well-written sci-fi movies I have seen in a while. The story itself is quite clever, and not nearly what I was expecting. I found myself quickly tied up in multiple characters with different motives, all of which were important to the story and not thrown in for the sake of complexity. Further, I assumed the need for leniency in judging some plot points, as time travel movies are notorious for plot holes. Once again, the plot was done in such a smart way to avoid introducing holes and questions about how things happened the way they did. To go on further, I risk the possibility of revealing spoilers, and that would be a crime with this story.
Moving on, the cast was well-suited to their roles (minus obvious physical differences between Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, and my inability to see Paul Dano and forget him dancing on stage to “Superfreak” a la “Little Miss Sunshine”).
Further, it is always a plus in my book when a child is cast that just naturally seems to fit the role he is playing, so much so that my fiance commented that he might give her nightmares (nice work kid). Combining the acting with the cinematography and set design, you are immediately absorbed in this futuristic world. The film introduces just enough background to make the setting fully believable, while avoiding unnecessarily bogging the viewer down with too much terminology and lore.
Lastly, to wrap-up, I will have to say that this movie had what I like to call a “Children of Men” moment. You know, that scene, where the majority of sound drops out to be overtaken by the cries of a baby, a battle is halted, and an entire building and street full of people quit from fighting to stare in awe at the two carrying the “miracle” child. Yeah, the first time I saw that scene (with the movie still being one of my all-time favorites), I sat with goosebumps, jaw (literally) dropped, and in amazement. Now, not to say that all “Children of Men” moments are as powerful, but they are those kind of scenes that really give you the chills (in a good way). The “Children of Men” moment in this movie is unexpected, but that just makes it all the better. You’ll know when it happens.
So, in review, “Looper” is one of my favorite movies so far this year (“Moonrise Kingdom” still sitting large at the top spot). It’s “Children of Men” moment may not be quite as moving as the one in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, but the overall story and execution push it far above your standard sci-fi film, while the writing puts it ahead of other time travel films. I highly recommend this film to any sci-fi fan, and to anyone looking for something with a smart plot.
Final Rating: 9.1/10