Movie Review - Looper

Films with a focus on time travel are notoriously difficult to pull off. Geeks the world over who have a basic knowledge of the inherent paradoxical nature of time travel through little more than Star Trek, Quantum Leap and everyone's favourite kid next door, Mr Michael J. Fox. While the subject matter itself can cause automatic concern for some, rest assured that in the hands of otherwise "indie" writer and director Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom), you need not fear time travel.

In 2072, time travel exists, albeit illegally, and is used to transport targets 30 years in the past to be disposed by willing employees of the mob. The only catch is that you must always dispose of your target, even if the target is you.

An undeniable highlight of the film is its casting. First and foremost, Joseph Gordon Levitt is incredible. With a little help from prosthesis and contact lenses, JGL completely captures the facial expressions, voice and distinctive mannerisms of Bruce Willis who, with a  30 career under his belt, is as recognisable as they come. Throughout the entire film JGL impresses by showing his vast array of acting skills at his disposal. In this one film he shows he is capable of greatness across any genre. Other fantastic performances are delivered by Brick cast member Noah Segan, the desperately under-utilised Paul Dano and the always wonderful Jeff Daniels. Emily Blunt also features as Sara and delivers a performance which is full of the guilt and sadness that can only be felt by a parent who has failed their child. Thankfully after the train wreck that was The Expendables 2, Bruce Willis has dispensed with the schlock and shown that he can be an action hero and do much more. In a turn which is more reminiscent of The Jackal, Willis returns to form by actually acting albeit acting as Bruce Willis.

Visually, Looper is a treat and creates a world where not much has changed in terms of the physical realm. World governments are failing and therefore so are world economies. Instead of having flashy Audi roller cars like in I-Robot, Johnson has filled the Looper realm with the 2000's. Current model cars are fitted with solar panels and buildings decrepit but still standing. This aesthetic gave the feeling that not much has really changed and in a sense, made it feel as though you truly were glancing into the future. While many comparisons have been made to Inception, Looper looks and feels completely different and it should also be noted that it has been made for one fifth of the budget of Inception.  

Aside from being a fantastic movie in its own right and one of my favourites this year, Looper makes me excited for two reasons in particular. First of all, this may finally be the role that gets Joseph Gordon Levitt the mainstream attention that he deserves after being an underused cog in the Christopher Nolan machine. Secondly, Rian Johnson has shown that he can write and direct a mainstream blockbuster that is every bit as fantastic as his highly regarded indie flick, Brick. 

It would be easy to compare Looper to Inception, not only because of its sci-fi, world within a world aspect but also because of its originality and fantastic cast. That said, Looper is its own beast and while a slight mind bender at times, it is a film that can be enjoyed on so many levels. A brilliant film which has a compelling story line, great action and one of the best casts of the year, Looper deserves your attention.

Looper hits Australian cinemas nationwide on Thursday the 27th of September 2012.


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