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Looper movie poster

Looper: Movie Review

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Rated: R
Directed by: Rian Johnson

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt
Released by: Sony Pictures

In Short: A brilliant sci-fi time-travel tale of murder, mayhem and confronting one's own past and future, this one is a real winner.

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When Present and Future Collide, a New Classic Film Emerges

In writer-director Rian Johnson's brilliant new movie "Looper," Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a guy named Joe, who is one of the killers named in the title. For in this fascinating futuristic tale, a "looper" is a mob hit man whose job is pretty simple. He just goes to a specific spot in a field in the middle of nowhere, where at the exact same moment every time, a bound and hooded person suddenly appears. Joe shoots him dead, and that's that.

All this because time travel has been invented 30 years ahead of the story and a big mob boss from that future has figured out how to get rid of any rivals, by sending them into the past to be murdered there. If it sounds complicated, it is, which is part of the beauty of Johnson's tightly constructed and visually exciting film: as it unfolds, you are constantly guessing, trying to connect the dots of what is happening in the present with the glimpses he gives you of the future.

The well-told tale gets especially strange when the guy who arrives one morning for Joe to gun down is actually himself, 30 years older. As played to perfection by Bruce Willis, Old Joe is a man who has lived a dangerous and brutal life, only to finally find happiness and serenity in the arms of a beautiful wife. So when he is flung back into the past, he's not willing to go down easily, even to himself.

Qing Xu and Bruce Willis in Looper Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Looper

Add in a twisty mystery thread to the whole thing (who is that shadowy criminal kingpin who is controlling the future, anyway?), a collection of terrific visuals and some brilliant acting turns, and "Looper" ends up being a mind-bending experience that crackles along at a great pace, rarely slowing down to let you catch your breath.

In fact, Johnson has cast the film so well that despite the fact that Willis and Gordon-Levitt don't actually look that much alike (and that Willis is even a couple of inches taller), you completely believe that they are the same guy, even when they come face-to-face. Add in a fine Emily Blunt in a key role and the wildly talented (and very young) Pierce Gagnon as a boy with some serious issues and the result is that "Looper" really is a film to love.

One warning: don't let anyone tell you any more about this flick before you see it, for this is a movie that is filled with moments that will surprise and shock you. Hearing too much beforehand will definitely spoil the fun. Enjoy the ride!


Reviewed by Jenny Peters


(Updated: 09/28/12 SG)

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