Most films that attempt to create an entire storyline based around something extremely far fetched tend to fail to a significant degree for any number of reasons. Whether it’s something completely left field that doesn’t feel believable or a universe complete with plot holes that eventually fall through. The universe created in the Rian Johnson-directed Looper doesn’t suffer from either of those instances. Enough emphasis is placed away from the setting of the film that it becomes enough of an afterthought to only matter when it has to. And it does matter. Just not for the entire duration of the movie.
Joseph Gordan-Levitt plays Joseph Simmons. A mafia employee whose job is to dispose of people sent back by his bosses from thirty years in the future. His job is simple. Wait and shoot. And create a distance between himself and the job he is hired to do. But once him or anyone else decides they want out, they are sent their future selves to kill. That’s where the story truly begins. Joseph G-L plays a particularly convincing character who’s been hardened by his work. His intense facial expressions, arching eyebrows and stern lips tell half of his story. Set in 2044, the other half is told with his lifestyle. The types of places he hangs out in, his addictions and his desperation when faced with his future self played by Bruce Willis.
The plot thickens when a much larger threat is at stake that unfolds as the film develops. Presented with a clean level of movie gloss, Looper also contains an amount of grittiness that keeps its progression shaken. The focus and angles of the camera present a clear perspective of what’s important when it comes to the context of the surroundings. The future we see looks depressing. Not hopeless but that there’s a universal acceptance that certain parts of the underworld have been reluctantly given control over society. This offers a feeling of defeat, with a ‘but’. Accept the new terms and you’ll be spared.
When Joseph finds himself in the middle of a farm, he meets a young woman Sara (Emily Blunt) who is a single mother raising her son Cid (Pierce Gagnon) while also looking after the farm. Ten-year-old Pierce hits the role of a menacing young boy on the head with his powerful glare and secretive delivery. His performance in this film shouldn’t go unnoticed as he is the obvious choice for the next thriller/horror film that features a troubled haunted child.
Looper is a film that truly has everything. There is an underlying love story. There is a storyline that carries through to the end. There are explosions and car crashes and yes, there is an epic yet cheesy scene where Bruce Willis is firing a machine gun complete with a finishing pose. In a year that has been underwhelming for movies so far, Looper helps to save the day easily making it one of the best so far.