Movie Review – Looper

LooperI went in to watching my DVD review copy of Looper with a bit of hesitation. I heard a lot about it from friends and saw the praise online. But, when it comes to time travel trippy movies, I find them to be rather hit or miss. I’m often left wondering more about the mechanics of time travel the movie lives by instead of the story presented before me.

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.

I sat down with my bowl of popcorn and my soda and turned down the lights not sure what to expect. What I found was an action packed movie that was more a hard boiled noir/crime story instead of a time travel/sci-fi movie. This was a movie whose character development was centered around people sitting or standing around talking, not in the action or bravado they showed.

Directed by Rian Johnson where left to focus on the characters before us and their motivation instead of being distracted by the world they inhabit or that mechanics of time travel. To control our focus like that is impressive for the director who gives us quiet scenes of chatter along with blazing shoot outs. To be able to pull off both and pull us in as an audience is impressive.

The most difficult task of the movie was making us believe Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the younger version of Bruce Willis. The movie really centers around that having us focus on these two same people at different points in their lives. Some small make-up work made Gordon-Levitt look like Willis and the young actors ability to mimic the veteran action star’s familiar patterns is impressive. You could easily believe they’re the same person. Supporting roles by Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels as Gordon-Levitt’s verbal sparring partner and the mob boss pursing Willis and Gordon-Levitt stand out from a small, but impressive cast. Pierce Gagnon as Cid, the possible target of Willis, is really impressive. At not times does the movie suffer from the child actor, in fact it’s enhanced by his innocence.

I did find some issues with the mechanics of time travel presented in the movie (we’ll get to that in the extras comment) and found myself focused a lot on that after. But, it was explainable to me (though the other person I watched it with had issues as well). The plot was predictable with some slight twists and turns, but nothing super shocked. The movie is all about that acting not the action, something not expected going into watching the film.

The extras on the DVD was sparse with some commentary and deleted scenes. There’s one scene I think does deserve being in the film and it explains time travel a bit better. That extra is very helpful watching after the film. The Blu-Ray has a “The Science of Time Travel Featurette” and additional deleted scenes, but unfortunately that’s not the copy I received, so only able to review what was provided.

Overall, the film is excellent. It lives up to the hype and buzz and I’m a bit pissed I waited so long to watch the film. It might seem like a time travel action film, but it’s really all about the characters and acting. This is a smart-person’s sci-fi film, one who doesn’t care about explosions or action sequences, they care about the performance overall. It’s a pretty tight movie that you have to pay attention to, to really appreciate the small details that added in with the performances make one of the best films of the year.

Looperis out today on Blu-Ray, DVD and Instant Video.

Direction: 8 Acting: 9 Plot: 7.5 Extras: 6 Overall: 8

Graphic Policy was provided with a FREE copy for review