Set twenty-two years into the future, Looper stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, a Looper from the year 2044. Now, in the year 2070 time travel has been invented (and then quickly banned), and a Looper’s job is to wait at a precise spot at a precise time and kill the man who arrives from the future. A man cannot be killed in 2070 due to advancements in technology, which make it impossible to dispose of a body, thus sending the victim back to 2044 is the best option.
A Looper is called a Looper because sometime in his life he must close ‘the loop’; this means that he must kill his future self. This could be a difficult task, and when Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) does appear, the 2044 Joe fails to kill his future self, leaving his life in danger. Meanwhile, future Joe is a man on a mission attempting to cut short the life of a future major criminal.
It is an excellent and exciting concept, which plays somewhat as a neo-noir as the society America crumbles as organized crime and poverty rises, perhaps the beginnings of the 2070’s America. Again, it is a clever prospect and, thankfully, it is not all prospect and no movie as the film keeps a lot of the smartness of the premise throughout the running time despite two things that work against it (one more than the other). The first issue, though a small one as the film is entertaining, it can make very little sense, and the second, slightly bigger issue, is that it does descend into a typical action movie.
Looper has been called this decades’ The Matrix, however Looper is perhaps more similar to the likes of Memento, Source Code and Twelve Monkeys rather than The Matrix as Looper asks questions about identity and memory. Because of that Looper becomes more than your typical science fiction blockbuster and becomes more like Inception in a sense that it will be very popular whilst not being the big, dumb and expensive rubbish that sometimes does appear during the summer months. Looper is well acted, both Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt (his GCI alterations are not greatly distracting) give perfectly capable performances and they are well supported by Emily Blunt (as Joe’s love interest).
The main issue, however, which stops the film becoming one of the better films of the year, is the telekiensis aspect of the story. It would perhaps be better to stick the more neo noir aspects of the story rather than fall into The Omen category in which a kid becomes dangerous and something to fear. That aspect of the story, despite the well-written and quite moving relationship between mother and son, just doesn’t seem to work. In fact, when Joe does reach the farmhouse the pace does slacken somewhat and a romantic relationship occurs, but thankfully, Blunt’s character serves slightly more purpose to the story than just a romantic interest. The telekiensis aspect of the story just felt like the weaker part of the film and almost a little unconvincing.
Looper is mostly good fun, it doesn’t reach its full potential due the telekiensis subplot being somewhat unconvincing and a plodding middle section, but Looper is enjoyable and engaging stuff.