By Jonathan Smalls, Film Critic
While science fiction may bring back bad memories of the 2000s Star Wars prequels, Looper proves that the genre can still be done right.
Bruce Willis, and Joseph Gordon Levitt star opposite each other as thirty year separated versions of Joe, the main character, but they antagonize each other as they have completely different goals. Old Joe travels back in time to assassinate a ruthless mob boss in his youth, while young Joe seeks only to kill old Joe, and move on with his life.
Willis reprises some of that Sixth Sense / Die Hard toughness. If you want to see him do some thing more meaningful than the Expendables, this is it. For his part Gordon-Levitt does his best Bruce Willis impression, complete with permanent kissy face. It is a far cry from Third Rock from the Sun, but Gordon-Levitt has actually come into his own. The two leads work really well together in adopting many of the same mannerisms, but interestingly enough they are still not the star of the show.
Poorly executed this could have been a corny and predictable disaster with screaming plot holes all over the place, but that is just not the case here. Looper is what movies should be; it has a few celebrities in it to draw audiences, but the real star of the show is the writing. Although little known, Rian Johnson writes, and directs an engrossing experience for alert audiences. Looper stars Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Bruce Willis in a science fiction world of time travel, and telekinesis. Johnson creates a dangerous world with amusing undertones that just plain makes sense even as the fan community dissects it years from now. In general it is hard to describe without giving away plot points, but that is a good thing: that means that it introduces information that could be relevant to the story, and later ties all of those threads together. Keep that in mind as you watch ( and you will watch, right? ), because what seems unimportant initially will come back at you later on. What is important is that this film blurs morality in its own universe, the stakes feel real, and the bad guy is always in doubt right up until the very end.
Looper starts out cute. It draws a direct connection between our present reality, and the narrative of the movie to start in a relevant place. It then takes us on a journey as one man literally seeks to save the world, and keeps us guessing about which path he will take. It is suspenseful and engaging in a way that movies are not always, but should always seek to be.