With Hollywood rehashing old movie ideas such as unnecessary sequels made solely for an easy payday, it’s refreshing to see a movie as creative and as original as Looper. The film, which takes place in the dystopian society set in the year 2042, has everything going for it: an interesting premise, strong performances by the leading cast, and Bruce Willis.
Joseph Gordon Levitt, who plays the story’s main character Joe, is a hit man, but not in the most conventional sense. Thirty years from his time, time travel has not only been invented, but also been banned by the government. But that doesn’t stop major criminal organizations that need to have persons-of-interest killed. Because the government in the future puts tags on the bodies, the organizations have to send their targets back in time, where hit men (called Loopers) kill them.
One day, Levitt is horrified to realize that they have sent his future self back and now he’s responsible to kill himself. His future self, played by Bruce Willis, plays the character with gusto, muscle and powerful emotion. But Bruce Willis isn’t the star, Levitt is. He looks, sounds and even has all of Bruce Willis’ mannerisms that we’ve grown used to over the years. It’s uncanny how well Levitt pulls it off, and reaffirms just how he’s one of the best current actors right now.
As the story unfolds, we become aware that there may be more than one reason as to why Joe’s older self has returned. But finding out is part of the joy of watching this film
Rian Johnson, whose first project also featured Levitt, titled Brick, wrote and directed the film. Johnson has woven a tight narrative that hits almost every genre of filmmaking, incorporating action, drama, comedy, sci-fi and just a touch of romance. His directing style, while innovative and interesting at some times, grows a bit overwhelming at other times as he uses certain angles and techniques that take away from several scenes. But that’s not to say it’s poorly directed. Far from it. It’s just that the Johnson shows so much promise that it’s easy to overlook the positive and nitpick the nitty-gritty.
At the end of the day, Looper is an inventive, well-acted and gripping film that reaffirms that Hollywood is far from running out of ideas.