UK release date: 28 September 2012
Set in 2044, a new breed of killers are born called ‘Loopers’ who are paid to kill enemies of the mob from the future, who get transported back blindfolded to face the barrel of the looper’s gun and to be shot immediately. Blocks of silver are attached to the recently deceased’s back, for payment to the looper. But soon a looper named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) begins to discover the mob are starting to ‘close the loops’ – which means Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) will be sent back for him to kill.
Sounds quite sci-fi-y – but it’s not, or doesn’t feel like it. The only real sci-fi thing about this film is that it involves time travel. But once you’ve got your head round that bit, it’s more like a thriller, with a really strong narrative written by the film’s director – Rian Johnson.
Deja Vu? Well, you might recognise the name from his debut in 2005 with ‘Brick’, which was not only directed by him but written by him too. Gordon-Levitt was also the star in this movie, who moved on after to bigger and better (paid) movies such as ‘Inception’, ‘G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra’ and ‘500 days of Summer’ – all at the same time proving himself to be quite the adaptable actor!
And there’s no change here; he carries the whole I’m-a-killer-and-don’t-give-a-damn persona better than I expected, which makes his older self (action veteran Willis) seem more believable, with some assistance from CGI facial amendments of course! But why would you want to murder your future self? Well, as young Joe explained to us early on; loopers know this day may well come, so instead of worrying about it, you may as well cruise around town in your flashy motor, picking up girls and dropping a new liquid drug into your eyeballs to get high.
Things can’t always be, err, this good, so when Joe’s friend Seth, also a looper, allows his future-Seth go free, instead of blasting him in the face, the brown stuff hits the fan. Seth bites the dust as Joe is made to snitch on him to the boss man, called Abe (Jeff Daniels), who walks round in a dressing gown and kind of ruins the seriousness for a second by doing so.
After some moping around about loosing his best mate, this is when Bruce comes back to which Joe hesitates to kill at first, before taking a shot that’s too late as older Joe deflects it, knocks out younger Joe and makes a run for it. The two (or one, as technically they are the same person) are yet to meet again so the plot can develop when older Joe tells younger Joe a new mob boss is spreading destruction and terror in the future and is named ‘The Rainmaker’ – who older Joe is set out to kill.
Hold on a minute, time travel, someone sent back from the future to kill?! If you’re asking yourself where you’ve heard this before – then that would be from James Cameron‘s ‘The Terminator’ my friend. Oh yes, which if Johnson hasn’t heard or seen before, then I will eat my hat, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I mean, Cameron himself has taken an old story and made it his own (hello – ‘Avatar’ is practically ‘Pocahontus’ but with blue aliens!!)
Anyway, with older Joe off on his mission to save the future meanwhile younger Joe is on the run from his boss and the gang as he also let his future-self loose. He takes refuge at a farm in stereotypical Kansas, home to Sara (Emily Blunt who has mastered an American accent) and her son, Cid (Pierce Gagnon). The pace may slow down when we reach this point but the plot does tie itself up, in a very satisfactory fashion, with a few smart twists to boot. Of course, I don’t want to give too much away, I’m not into spoilers so I’ll stop here.
The film is another great effort from Rian Johnson, which sadly I don’t think will get the attention it deserves. With Willis back in business and fans of Gordon-Levitt, hopefully this will drum up crowds to fill those empty cinema seats. If word of mouth is as effective as they say, then spread the word: it’s actually worth a watch.