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Looper– Movie Review

Submitted by on September 30, 2012 – 10:19 pm2 Comments
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Hollywood is having a renaissance of great science fiction that is gritty, philosophical, well-acted, action-packed, and imaginative- as long as you don’t think about it too much. (The Adjustment Bureau, Source Code, even the overrated Inception, etc.) Looper is yet another great addition to this subgenre, providing a stunning dystopian vision with a truly human story- and so many loopholes (no pun intended) that the characters actually tell each other not to worry about them.

As Joseph Gordon-Levitt growls in the trailers, time travel is invented sometime around 2072. It’s outlawed, but used by organized crime, which sends people back 30 years to be killed by grunts like Joe (Levitt) called Loopers. By the 2040s, the US appears to have fallen on some very hard times, and Joe is living a hedonistic high life as a well-payed Looper. But when Joe’s target is an older version of himself (a standard part of the Looper business contract), Old Joe gets away and sets out to change history.

Also, in the near-future, some humans have developed telekinesis, which is a minor detail in the film- except when it’s not. So from the beginning, the film has bitten off a little more than it can chew, throwing multiple weird futuristic elements together that seem to have little to do with each other.

But director Rian Johnson makes the payoff worth it, milking every special effects-laden action sequence for true human terror and emotion. Whether it’s watching a man literally fall apart as his past self is mutilated, or seeing telekinesis used for violence for the first time, Johnson’s scenes have more than shock value; these reality-bending moments expose just what lengths desperate people will go to. Johnson is also a master of restraint, avoiding dramatic speeches and panning his camera away during some scenes of bloody slaughter, letting the audience’s imagination fill in the horrifying blanks.

The performances are all also a step above normal sci-fi cliches; I especially liked actors such as Jeff Daniels, Noah Segan, and Qing Xu bringing authenticity and quirkiness to supporting roles (in Xu’s case, an entirely silent one). And like his onscreen persona, young Pierce Gagnon is so precociously talented, it’s kinda scary.

Did you see Looper? What did you think?

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