Looper is a film written and directed by Rian Johnson. The movie is set in Kansas City during the year 2044, thirty years before time travel is invented. Time travel is illegal in the future, and it is only used by the mob on the black market. When the mafia wants someone killed, they send that person back thirty years where trained assassins, called “loopers,” kill them. The story follows Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a looper who encounters his own self when the older version of himself (Bruce Willis) is sent back from the future to be assassinated. When a looper comes across their older self, an event known as “closing the loop,” they must kill the older version of themselves or face death by the mob. When Joe’s older self gets away, a series of wild, electrifying events take place. Ultimately, the deeper reason for the elder Joe’s return is revealed and the fate of human existence consequently hangs in the balance.
Looper is clearly one of the year’s most confusing films; however, in this case, confusing does not necessarily equal an immediate dislike for the movie. In fact, Looper was one of my personal favorites released in 2012, and I rushed to buy it on Blu-ray the day it came out. Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) creates a landscape in both the past and future that resembles the darkest of dystopian societies, and his use of short, expeditious scenes plays perfectly along with this theme. If you are a fan of sci-fi thrillers, you will definitely want to check this one out—it is essentially a mix between The Terminator (1984) and Minority Report (2002).
Since Looper was released in September, it has garnered significant critical acclaim, and it was featured on a variety of important lists of top films of the year. With that being said, it has not been nominated for any major movie awards. The only noteworthy nomination is for Best Original Screenplay at the Writers Guild Awards. Even without any momentous award nominations, I still view Looper as one of the best movies of 2012.
One strong point of the film that critics across the nation have praised is the cast. Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer, Premium Rush) plays young Joe and Bruce Willis (Pulp Fiction, Die Hard) plays the elder Joe, and the two bear a striking resemblance in the film—this is because makeup artist Kazuhiro Tsuji created various prosthetics for Gordon-Levitt to wear to resemble Willis’ facial features. In the diner scene when both versions of Joe are sitting across a table from each other, it is blatantly visible how alike they truly look. Not only does Gordon-Levitt mimic Willis’ physical features, he also engages in the action scenes of the film in the same nature as Willis has been doing for his entire career in movies like the Die Hard and The Expendables franchises.
Solid supporting performances are given by Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada, The Young Victoria) as Sara, the farmhouse owner that young Joe seeks refuge at while hiding from the mafia, and Jeff Daniels (Dumb and Dumber, The Newsroom) as Abe, the guy the mob sent back to the past to manage the loopers. The breakout performance, however, is from Pierce Gagnon as he portrays Sara’s son Cid, a young, innocent-looking boy who ends up being more than meets the eye. Looper is rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity, and drug content.
Academy Award nominations for Looper:
Previous movies on the countdown of the Top 15 Films of the Year:
11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
12. The Dark Knight Rises
14. The Master