Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives veteran action star Bruce Willis a run for his money with this quietly brilliant flick.
By Annabelle Low
The year is 2044, and time travel has been invented. 30 years later, time travel has been outlawed and crime syndicates have resorted to sending bodies back to 2044 to be executed by loopers—assassins who wait for human targets to appear at designated locations and execute them.
Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one such looper. Joe faces a dilemma when he recognizes that his target is his future self (Bruce Willis) and hesitates to pull the trigger. Old Joe escapes. Failure to close the loop is equivalent to death by mafia so Joe flees. But he is determined to finish the job in order to redeem himself.
Director and writer Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom, 2008) deserves props for giving us this quietly brilliant time-travel flick. On trailer, it looks like a promising action movie, but Looper is far more intelligent than it makes itself out to be.
The plot plays out like a Möbius strip—a tragic, endless cycle in which the characters are doomed, until the storylines coalesce neatly into an unexpected ending that is, in retrospect, inevitable but utterly frustrating. While time-travel is the overarching hook, it is a foil to the actual crux of the story, which deals with larger questions about humanity as well as cause and effect.
Unlike most movies about time-travel, the characters in Looper have a good depth and characterization to them. It’s not easy to play a younger version of an iconic action hero, but Gordon-Levitt has proven time and time again his depth and versatility as an actor. The former Third Rock from the Sun child star held his own against Die Hard badass Willis on screen, particularly in the scene where Old Joe meets Young Joe in a diner. Now, Gordon-Levitt doesn’t look a thing like Willis, but colored contacts and a prosthetic nose make him a passable Bruce Willis Jr.
An excellent film that will spawn good post-movie conversations.