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|Index||580 reviews in total|
366 out of 554 people found the following review useful:
Badly Conceived., 30 September 2012
Author: Calvin Evans from Manchester, UK
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Looper was enjoyable enough but I really can't understand all the
praise. Maybe I expected too much of this film, but I was looking
forward to a slick piece of speculative sci-fi that was thought-
provoking, realistic and fairly deep. Instead, I got a lazily strung
together generic action movie with a splash of time travel and super-
"I don't want to talk time travel sh*t" or something along those lines is commonly used in this film to breeze past any plot holes and presumably stop the narrative become too complex. This irked me as it was one of the main draws in my opinion.
I was very frustrated by the little amount of effort that was put in to creating a futuristic society. Forget the realistic near-future depicted spectacularly in films such as Children of Men. This world is more akin to the recent Dredd 3D film. Shallow and lacking in realism. Personally, I would love to have had more information on the state of government etc as the mobs seemed to be running everything but there really isn't any explanation given to this at all.
The dynamics of time travel in this film are completely unbelievable. The notion that you can chop someone leg or whatever off and their "future self" will lose it is completely absurd. You're clearly creating a brand new entity when you come back in time. Put it this way. If I created a copy of myself from 0.1 seconds ago next to me. Are we going to be magically linked? Probably not. It also presupposes some sort of multi-verse scenario, in which case, Bruce Willis's character shouldn't even exist in that eventuality. I don't want to rant about this too much but I thought of all the ways they could depict time travel. This was one of the worst.
And then there are the superpowers. Come on. Everyone has pretty much agreed biological evolution is basically over for us and it's all about technical augmentation now. The idea that in 33 years we'll be developing telekinesis is laughable to the point where the fact you're meant to accept this is almost offensive.
On top of this, the whole plot in general is very hard to swallow and lacks in verisimilitude. Again, I find myself being forced to accept these absurd scenarios such as the fact that the mob can't dispose of bodies, but can set up secret time machines?? Or that they have to send them 30 years back in time and not just 2 billion years or whatever.
And then there's the 30 year montage. Oh dear lord. I turned to my girlfriend and said. "Man, don't you just hate it when you get old and suddenly you're Bruce Willis". There was actually laughter in the cinema when Levitt morphs into Willis.
All in all, I really wouldn't agree with the reviews saying its clever etc. In my opinion the plot is extremely lazy and is secondary to the action. Which is fine. If you want to watch an action film. One of the main reason's I've even written this view is to counterbalance these reviews raving about this very mediocre film calling it a "masterpiece". I read reviews touting it's cleverness or how it goes to extra lengths to not leave plot holes and I think: am I even watching the same movie here?
Personally, I found myself rather disappointed.
324 out of 479 people found the following review useful:
I wish the writer had finished the movie he started, 29 September 2012
Author: David Jones from Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Don't get me wrong; this movie is very well made. It was well acted,
shot and directed. I was never bored.
But I started out watching a movie about a hit man who shoots mob victims sent back in time from the future, and knows that his final victim will be his older self. Interesting idea--even if it's not very plausible. But okay, let's just run with it. That's the movie I saw in the trailers, the one I expected to see.
So, when his future self comes back, present-day self hesitates for a moment and future self gets the drop on him and runs off. Now present-day self must hunt down and kill future self. Also interesting.
But then, it's all about a telekinetic farm kid who will one day rule the world with an iron fist. . . er, brain. . . if he isn't stopped.
Huh. . . ? Where the hell did that come from? I know, I know, it's foreshadowed by showing us that 10% of the population has trivial telekinetic powers. They can make coins float above their hands.
But to me, this film starts one story and then switches in mid-stream to a story stemming from a second, unrelated science fiction premise.
While it was refreshing that the movie didn't just turn into a series of action sequences in which JGL tries to kill BW (which would have been a pretty one-sided conflict, admittedly) I found this shift in emphasis to be far more distracting than Joseph Gordon-Levitt's prosthetic nose. Which I never had a problem with.
Anyway, I appear to be the only one bothered by this so just go ahead and enjoy the movie.
295 out of 458 people found the following review useful:
A disappointing let down from start to finish - caused by bad plot, 6 October 2012
Author: J Goron from United Kingdom
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
!SPOILER ALERT! Contrary to the trailers, this is NOT a film about time
travel. It IS a film about a telekinetic toddler (who is not in the
If you are expecting this film to be like Blade Runner, Primer or 13 Monkeys, then you may well be VERY disappointed.
Only about 5 minutes of the film seemed to actually involve time travel or Bruce Willis fighting his past self. When the story does attempt to explore these issues it does so embarrassingly badly. Half way through the film the plot changes AWAY from time travel and becomes a film about trying to kill a telekinetic little boy in the current day. A boy who has only a very weak connection to the initial plot about time travel.
This is really two entirely different plots badly mixed in to one. One plot is about time travel. The other plot is about the dangers of toddlers with uncontrollable telekinesis. Unfortunately the film does neither of these plots well, and ends up ruining both.
To make matters worse, the film moves very slowly in certain places. This just gives the audience time to think about how bad the plot it is.
There is virtually no action either - unless you count Bruce Willis's character shooting defenseless toddlers (for which the certificate should surely be more than 15), or needless torture and execution scenes. There is just a lot of running away from people taking badly aimed pot shots. (This happens a lot). Apparently nobody can shoot straight in the future. The only action scene worthy of the name comes in the last 5 minutes where Bruce Willis suddenly turns ninja and takes out ALL the bad guys in about 30 seconds, and then walks off. It's almost as if the writers got to the end of the story and then thought, "Oh yeah - we should probably have Bruce Willis firing some guns or something ..."
This film fails so pathetically to deal with time travel that it is frankly insulting to the audience. They don't give good explanations about why time travel exists, or how it works. Fair enough. There is a certain suspension of disbelief in any time travel movie. However, they DO establish certain rules about time travel during the film, which they then break, re-establish and break again whenever it is convenient for the writers.
Bruce Willis attempts to explain time travel, and give a justification for the writer's itinerant stance on the matter, only to then smash is hands on the table and angrily shout "It doesn't matter!". This makes it clear that the writers didn't even think they were being clever or original. They clearly knew the plot made no sense, and they were just making a pathetic excuse about time travel being "flaky" to justify their random plot lurches and inconsistencies.
The whole premise of a "Looper" was never satisfactorily explained: 1) Why did the mafia boss who supposedly "owned" the city live in a little basement? In his pajamas? 2) "It is almost impossible to get rid of a body in the future, because of tracking ... cough ... something ... cough-cough." So NATURALLY using time travel is the EASIEST of the available options to dispose of a body!? If a body disappears from the future, for example in a furnace, then surely it also disappears from the future in time travel? Same difference. 3) If mafia in the future are the sole owners and users of time travel, then why don't they just use it to take over the world so that they don't need to even worry about disposing of bodies? 4) Why didn't they just send the loopers back already dead when closing a loop, so that there was no possibility of failure? 5) Why did they always get THE SAME looper to close THEIR OWN loop? Asking for trouble. 6) Why even have more than one looper? Surely the job wasn't that strenuous that they needed to take shifts?
They broke their own rules on time travel, and made the ending of the film impossible and irrelevant given the events in the middle: As soon as the younger version shot himself at the end, then he couldn't have lived to meet the woman in China and eventually travel back in time, which means he couldn't have ever caused his past self to meet the rain man, and so the rain man would not be standing there in the corn field. Everything would have reverted back to how it was before - in exactly the same way that it DID DO EARLIER on in the film when he fell off the balcony and died and the bit where Bruce Willis traveled back in time got repeated. The rain man would have grown up and taken over the world in the same way he did before, and Bruce Willis's wife would still be dead.
They never actually explained WHY the first thing the rain man wanted to do was to kill the loopers in the future. Presumably it was because they were the only people who could go back in time and possibly stop him? So why didn't he just kill them with telekinesis like he did the rest of his enemies? Why did he chose to kill them in the ONLY method which would actually give them the opportunity to stop him in the past - namely, by sending them back to the past, alive.
The story never really addressed or capitalized on Bruce Willi's character being evil. This could have been a great angle to really explore, but instead they just washed over it.
This film was a dismal train wreck of ideas with great potential.
353 out of 581 people found the following review useful:
Very clever, very original and very welcome., 29 September 2012
Author: janus-20 from United Kingdom
I would have thought it doubtful that anyone could have anything new to
add to the sci-fi sub category of time travel movies. After watching
Looper yesterday, i'm happy to report that Rian Johnson has removed
those doubts and given me hope that sci-fi in Hollywood can be more
than just empty spectacle.
First off i would say, don't get discouraged from watching the film if you think its going to be too complex or difficult to follow. To follow the story and recognise characters motivations does require a little concentration, but not to the point that you wont enjoy the action beats and other more visceral elements.
The story is well constructed, information and plot points are presented at an entertaining and well judged pace. There are some nice little throw away visual references and metaphors which, if you catch them, add a nice texture to the story and stop it feeling too clinical in its plotting.
The script is tight, hard edged and very dry in its humour, the actors are fantastic. I think its fair to say that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is well on his way to being "one to watch", Bruce Willis pops back to life here, clearly enjoying himself again, (although i wouldn't say this is solely a Bruce Willis movie in that definition).
This is a brilliant movie experience, its an wholly original and entertaining idea, that the writer/director has managed to successfully transpose to film without, it would appear to a layman, pressure or interference from external sources.
No matter how much of a good time you will have watching this film (and you will), Hollywood could stand to learn much more from it.
182 out of 294 people found the following review useful:
Terminator meets Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episode 8, 29 September 2012
Author: Turfseer from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The near universal critical acclaim for 'Looper' is something I'm
having a hard time fathoming. I suppose we haven't seen a great sci-fi
thriller in such a long time, that as soon as a mediocre to average
flick such as this one comes along, everyone is jumping on the
bandwagon, practically calling it a masterpiece!
My first problem with 'Looper' is the overall concept. A crime syndicate in the future (2074)wants to dispose of its victims by sending them 30 years back into the past and have them disposed of by hit men, who they pay with bars of silver. Once these hit men (the loopers) live their lives for thirty years, the syndicate decides to dispose of them by sending them back to 2044, where they'll be disposed of, sometimes even by their younger selves.
It's explained that in the future bodies are 'tagged' so by sending them back in time, they cannot be traced. But why can't the syndicate send their victims in the present immediately back to 65 million B.C. where they would probably be immediately eaten by a dinosaur or other prehistoric animal, thus preventing the time-line from being tampered with? And by cutting out the middlemen (i.e. the loopers) in this way, the syndicate can keep all the profits for themselves.
Once we're introduced to the novelty of the how the looper scheme operates, the novelty soon wears off. We see Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) traveling to the cornfield and then performing executions one too many times. Finally, there's a plot twist: fellow looper Seth appears at Joe's apartment, explaining that his 30 year old self from the future appears in the cornfield and he's unable to finish the job. Abe, the enforcer from the future, forces Joe to betray Seth, who's tortured and his alter ego from the future is hunted down. You might ask what this has to do with time travel or science-fiction. Actually nothing--it's simply all action-thriller at this point in time in the script.
Soon, Joe finds himself in the same position as Seth. His 30 year old future self (Bruce Willis) appears but manages to prevent younger Joe from doing him in. In a rather derivative idea borrowed from the 'Terminator' series, Willis must dispose of a child who will one day grow up to be the 'Rainmaker', the sinister figure in the future who is now bent on eliminating all the loopers.
It might have been interesting had we seen what this Rainmaker character looked and acted like in the future, but that never occurs. We're asked to be content with meeting little Cid, our future Rainmaker, who has telekinetic powers coupled with a severe anger management problem. One is immediately reminded of Billy Mumy in the Season 3 Twilight Zone episode, "It's a Good Life", who plays a mutant who terrifies adults by 'wishing them away to the cornfield'. So the second half of 'Looper' feels much more like fantasy-horror than Sci-fi action thriller.
The meeting between the younger and older Joes in the diner is perhaps the most interesting scene in the film as it underscores the contrast between the more impulsive younger self with the more seasoned, experienced older one. Unfortunately, there is hardly any additional interaction between the two altar egos, with older Joe stalking off to blow away Abe and his crew of malevolent meanies. In true Bruce Willis fashion, the aging 'Die Hard' legend, is up to his old tricks, by machine-gunning most of the bad guys, sans Kid Blue, who appears out of nowhere on his flying motorcycle and immediately gets himself killed, instead of Joe, who is his intended target.
If the Looper second half feels a bit slower than the first, that's because director Rian Johnson spends a little too much time out on the farm, with Joe courting Sara (Emily Blunt). Although there's a feeling that we've seen this before, the ending proves to be passable as we finally have something to feel good about. Younger Joe sacrifices himself, preventing older Joe from killing Sara. He does this after he's able to foresee that Cid, growing up as the Rainmaker, will hold a perpetual grudge due to the murder of his mother and will take it out on all of humanity (including all the loopers) in the future.
Unfortunately, Joe's sacrifice, is not enough to make either young Joe or older Joe, likable. Younger Joe, before he takes his own life, is a criminal and a drug addict and older Joe, is responsible for murdering the second child on his list of three potential Rainmakers. In terms of a sympathetic protagonists, there's little to like here at all.
'Looper' is also unable to score points with its look at the dystopian future. One feels that one is simply viewing a second hand set from 'Robocop'--in that film, 'Old Detroit' looks remarkably similar to Looper's Kansas City of 2044 including the grimy 'futuristic' cars and emphasis on vagrancy as a national blight.
The performances in Looper are all acceptable, with an honorable mention going to little Pierce Gagnon as Cid, who manages to handle a number of complicated lines and take direction in a fashion way above his chronological age.
In the end, Looper proves only mildly interesting. While some of the action sequences are entertaining, the sci-fi premise is not developed into something clever enough to deserve all the the accolades that have been heaped upon it to date.
250 out of 450 people found the following review useful:
Intelligent Science Fiction Thriller, 24 September 2012
Author: Tom Gooderson-A'Court (email@example.com) from United Kingdom
Looper is a film that goes to extraordinary lengths to leave every base
covered in its quest to avoid plot holes and inconsistencies and in my
mind it deals with the problems associated with time travel very well.
One thing I liked is that the older Joe is aware of everything the
younger Joe is about to do which gives him an edge if they were to do
battle. I also liked that the older Joe in true Bruce Willis style
bypasses the whole idea of trying to work out how and why what is
happening is happening by saying he can't be bothered to work it all
out. As well as the older Joe having the advantage of memory over the
younger Joe, the younger Joe in turn has his own advantages which
become apparent. There were several times when I thought I'd worked out
what was going to happen or what a particular character's arc was going
to be but the film cleverly manipulates its audience, leading them down
alleyways only to jump out at them from behind and spin them around.
There is a nice early twist which gave me a smile and plenty more to
keep you guessing right the way to the end. In the end it turns out
that time travel plays second fiddle to another phenomenon which I was
pleased by as there was no mention of this in the trailer which I've
been trying to avoid for several weeks. The plot is multifaceted with
each character having their own reasons for being where they are, when
they are and doing what they are doing. It is a dense plot which
explores several different ideas and concepts both personal and
As well as confidently dealing with a complex script which would have been very easy to either make too complicated or too full of holes, Writer/Director Rian Johnson (Brick) also creates a very believable future and fills it with people and events which feel plausible. Cities have continued to expand upwards and outwards but they themselves are filled with tent cities in which a large vagrant class live. Life is cheap and hard in this world in which the have's and have not's are much more separated than today. There is enough in the film to make to world feel as though it is our near future and the technology on display feels as though it is a few logical steps along the road. I especially liked the ingenious solution to running cars after the inevitable the oil crisis and there's also a great line about China in there which had a lot of people laughing.
The writing and direction are superb but another strength are the acting performances. Joseph Gordon-Levitt wears heavy makeup and prosthetics to make him look more like Bruce Willis and although this is occasionally a little distracting, it looks unnervingly good at times, especially closer up which is odd. The effect is actually better in close up than when JG-L is in the middle distance. Underneath the prosthetics though Gordon-Levitt delivers a fine performance, adopting a few of Willis' telltale mannerisms and affectations but avoiding pure mimicry. He appears confident and at ease in the dense lead role, carrying off a mixture of hard edged killer and caring young man while switching from one to the other with ease. Bruce Willis equally is very good but we have seen this kind of performance from him many times before. Nevertheless he is on good form here. The chemistry between the two leads was great and really helped with the believability of them being one person. Emily Blunt was another actor who performed very well and in a departure from her more familiar roles. She adopts a convincing American accent, drops a few F-Bombs and looks comfortable holding a gun. She brings to the fore the feminine caring side when it matters though. Probably the standout actor though despite the three A Listers is Pierce Gagnon, a very young child actor who is incredible in a pivotal role. He and Gordon-Levitt have some funny and tense scenes together which work very well.
Overall there was little I didn't like about Looper and it has gone straight into my Top 10 films of the year so far as well as being probably my favourite Sci-Fi since 2009's Moon. It treats its audience with respect and isn't afraid to keep you them of the loop for a while as it teases them with false and sometimes seemingly false information. It is well designed and acted and features a wonderfully multifaceted and intelligent story which rewards patience and concentration with a fantastic ending.
171 out of 293 people found the following review useful:
To quote the main character: It's messy.", 1 October 2012
Author: haosstoposto from Bosnia and Herzegovina
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This story was written by someone who does not comprehend even the basics of time travel problems and paradoxes. It is a mystery why this chaos received so high grades. The plot in short: mafia from the future sends their assassination targets into the present to be disposed of; in the present there are killers, so called loopers (organized by a sadist from the future) who await their targets and kill them. Before or later, the looper receives a mission to kill his future self. Some of them fail to do so. And then the chase begins. First of all, the premise is pretty stupid, to use such advanced technology for such mundane goal. In the movie they have explained, that in the future it is impossible to get rid of someone without being tracked. It is, as it seems, far easier to build a time machine then to avoid tracking technology from a collapsed society. Then we have a pretty horrifying (and illogical) scene of punishment for a failed looper. His present self is mutilated and his future self loses his limbs one by one. This is wrong, all his wounds have been inflicted in the past so they would appear all at once in the future. And it is unresolved if his present self has been killed or will they keep him alive for the next few decades without his limbs, until he is sent into the present. Then we have our hero", Joe who escapes his captors in the future, escapes his present looper-self and begins his search for a mysterious future mafia boss, the elusive Rainmaker", who in the future has killed his wife. Then begins a Terminator-rip-off". Terminator-Joe from the future does not have exact information about Rainmaker, only his date of birth and he manages to narrow his search to only three kids he will have to kill. He eliminates two targets and of course, his past self protects the real Rainmaker, the fact that it HAS TO BE KNOWN to his future self even before his trip to the past, because it is past, no matter when the audience has find out this. Then the Terminator-Joe eliminates his entire (ex-)gang and there is a showdown between him, his present-self and the Rainmaker-Kid. The situation is resolved when the present Joe kills himself and the Terminator-Joe disappears. Which would set in motion time traveling paradox: Terminator Joe does not exist so he cant be sent into the past and all his actions would be reversed. But no, all his actions in the movie remain. The Rainmaker-kid survives and he will grow up not to be mafia boss but exemplary member of future society. The end. Oh, and this Rainmaker-kid has a Carrie-like telekinetic abilities, which has nothing to do with a plot and is complete superficial. As for the pacing of the movie, it is horrible. We begin with a bang (literary), then a movie comes to a halt and we have an hour or so pure boredom (or character development"). Then we have a final shoot out. All in all a very bad experience, caused by a fanboy-hype. If you want to see Bruce Willis travel through time, watch 12 Monkeys", a far superior movie in every sense.
220 out of 395 people found the following review useful:
The Past In The Future., 27 September 2012
Author: Zane Tinning from Australia
To begin, Looper is a sci-fi film set in the future, dealing with the
implications of time-travel, although it is very much a film about the
past. The film is all about the past, how it affects the present and
the future and how it drives people with the majority of the film
building characters and establishing plot.
Anyone looking for an action film will be sorely disappointed because this is first and foremost a writer's film, focusing on plot, character and dialogue. As mentioned above, the brunt of the film falls on development, more so than action set-pieces and CGI. The portions of the city and the near future Johnson has created, whilst some may see as unoriginal, I see as tributary. A lawless country split socially in half, poverty on one side, excess on the other, the world Johnson has manufactured carries an air similar to that of Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men, a comparably important sci-fi film in the struggle to build the credibility of the genre in the realm of modern cinema.
Not only is the film intelligent, it also acts as a courier for Johnson, a director of hit (Brick) and miss (The Brothers Bloom) repute following his sophomore outing.
If you support intelligent science fiction in the intellectual vein of Inception and Primer, Looper is a film sitting firmly in the middle of the two. Break the box office with this film and bring intelligence back to film-making.
96 out of 151 people found the following review useful:
Waste of time, 8 October 2012
Author: Stephen Wallace Byrne
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Rian Johnson fiction film (as it contains no science) Looper should be
the line in the sand to say enough. Cinema going has turned into such a
trite state that a film like this could be critically acclaimed and
mass released. In the day and age of no heart films, torture porn and
saccharine dramas we again have to endure the waste of time, resources
and column space that a films like this garners. At a time when other
worthwhile films slip into obscurity of small openings and DVD bargain
Looper commits the most atrocious of cinematic crimes it abuses the viewers trust in a way that even Von Trier would be embarrassed by in all his emotion manipulation. Looper's first thirty minutes run by smoothly. It appears self-assured, paced confidently and even though the science and exposition is at best first grader and a worst lazy film- making we can forgive all of this and just go with it. Taking in the sub-standard portrayal of the future with none of the background social commentary of other genre films. Apart from some lazy shorthand referencing Doretha Lang's depression photograph of Mother With Seven Children replaced with future vagrant mother and child leaving behind any social cause and effect.
Then as Bruce Willis Old Joe meets Joseph Gordon Levitt's Young Joe the prosthetics take on a comically feel (recalling Pachino's villain in Dick Tracy). We feel we are getting to the meat of the story instead we find derivative shoot-outs, chases and uncompelling dialogue. At this point it all falls apart and the film runs into the dangerous space that modern cinema is not only touching on but beginning to permanently occupy.
The portrayal of females in the film is typical of the misogynistic movement in modern America's cinema. Women are passive objects to be both lusted and tortured. In Lopper all the women portrayed are Whores or Junkies or have a perverse struggle with motherhood.
Emily Blunt's character is given a back-story from a daytime drama. She shown to have no motivation apart from giving into compulsion. Any chance at positive female representation is at utter loss when she makes an-out-of nowhere unconvincing booty call with her child's adapted frog toy to Young Joe. This scene is complete with ridiculously out of place romantic piano score. One gets the feeling the film-makers have misogynist issues that should have been worked out in therapy and not in celluloid.
Before all of this trite we get Bruce Willis's terrible act of killing a child an act in cinema that Hitchcock in his conversations with Truffaut remarked is a guaranteed way to lose an audience. It has been done with a level of respect in films such as Afflecks Gone Baby Gone. In Looper it is unforgivable not only because of the act, but also in the way Johnson manipulates the audience and scenario for maximum effect (making him parallel with pushers of Torture Porn).
We are asked to believe that a child straight off a Disney set walks into the wrong film and towards a pretty suburb home, which is unguarded, in this state of societal collapse and mass crime. All this is for effect so when Old Joe shoots him we are more shocked, more horrified It is one of the more distasteful and undoubtedly manipulative scenes in recent cinema.
At the midway point the films personality splits, and it turns into a horror film about telekinetic abilities? In what seems like a pinned on sub-plot brought to the fore because they didn't know how to end the film. The ending of self-sacrifice was a laughable attempt at catharsis.
This infantile film should be laughed off the screens, especially given the sub-standard performances, Emily Blunts failure at acting 101 in the miming smoking scene comes to mind, .
Critics drawing positive attention even with the quip that it entertains should be ashamed. The role of the critic should be to enlighten. To shine a light towards the possibly unseen both within popular entertainment films and the unseen films that push the art form forwards.
125 out of 214 people found the following review useful:
Refreshingly original, 27 September 2012
Author: markdroulston from New Zealand
Sitting here the day after viewing Rian Johnson's Looper, parts of it
are still falling in to place. Standing out amongst this years crop of
mostly underwhelming sequels and comic book adaptations, Looper
thunders onto the screen, showing, much like Inception did two years
ago, that there is a place in 2012 for fresh material and just how good
it can be when it's done right.
The film tells the story of Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a hit-man for an organised crime syndicate tasked with assassinating targets sent from the future. After being confronted with his future self (Bruce Willis) and failing to perform, Young Joe is forced to track down Old Joe and finish the job before being tracked down himself by the nefarious mob led by Abe (Jeff Daniels). However there is much more to the story than the basic premise, and Johnson isn't afraid to keep details close to his chest until later in the film than most movies of this type, so I won't spoil them here.
While certainly paying subtle homage to its predecessors, Looper is a stunningly original sci-fi masterpiece, vastly superior to any of the higher profile action releases this year. While certainly made on a much larger playing field than Johnson's previous work (Brick, The Brothers Bloom), there is still a small-scale, independent feel to the film, and it benefits from clearly staying completely under the control of the young director. Delivering excitement sprinkled with thoughtful themes of personal sacrifice, he offers us much to chew on.
Johnson understands that a successful action film doesn't need an explosion every ten minutes, and allows ample time for developing character and story, something which will likely divide audiences. Looper is very deliberately constructed, and after the highly charged opening establishing the intricate time-travel premise and direction of the plot, Johnson scales back the action almost too much as he ambitiously juggles the many and varied story elements he has created. Thankfully, any weakness in the middle of the film is largely overshadowed as Johnson launches the third act with such ferocity that the stark change of pace leaves you breathless.
Despite the problems in the middle of the film, Looper overcomes its flaws purely by being that rare beast in Hollywood nowadays, the totally original script. Not an adaptation, not a sequel or remake, but a fresh idea from the mind of an immensely talented young film-maker. In a perfect world, Looper would be the game changer it deserves to be, slapping Hollywood studios across the face and announcing that not everything has to be a PG-13 franchise based on a comic book. It's unlikely that this will the case, and it remains to be seen whether or not the film will even be a success, but it's encouraging to see that there are young auteurs at work who are fighting to craft new and exciting stories, even if we only get to see the results every year or two.
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