Best Movies of All Time + [scifi]

LOOPER

LOOPER

"The only rule is: never let your target escape."

-- Joe
Looper is a 2012 sci-fi action film written and directed by Rian Johnson that serves as his third directorial effort, and his first since 2008's The Brothers Bloom. The story tells the tale of a futuristic world in which time travel exists but is outlawed, used only by major crime syndicates for purposes of disposal. These syndicates will send victims back in time where men known as "loopers" wait for them only to execute them on sight. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is such a man, and he maintains an extravagant lifestyle as a result of his career. One day, as Joe waits for his victim, or "loop," he finds an older version of himself (Bruce Willis) kneeling before him. After a moment's hesitation, Young Joe allows Old Joe to escape, sparking a massive manhunt by Young Joe's company to find the older man. As Young Joe and Old Joe start to interact through their meetings, light is shed on the elder Joe's current agenda for transforming his future into something much more desirable.

I apologize if the above synopsis seems a little bit shoddy, but I don't want to give away too much information about the plot and the storyline. What I wrote, along with the trailer posted below, really gives away the first half of the film. It's the second act that proves to be a little bit astonishing, and I'd rather not be the one to give it all away.

I've been anxiously awaiting this film for quite a while. Many of my readers will know that I have a bit of a man-crush on Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and that might have played a part in me seeing this film as soon as I did. The real selling point for me, however, is the return of a collaboration between Gordon-Levitt and director Johnson, who first joined forces for 2005's Brick. I'm sure that fact has probably been mentioned in every single review for Looper thus far, but I figured I'd reiterate it. Because I loved that film so much, the idea of another film from the two seemed like a gift-wrapped present at Christmas. What I'm here to tell you is that Looper does not disappoint. It's opened to some fantastic reviews - it currently holds a ninety-three percent approval rating on Rottentomatoes.com - and that only fueled the fire for me to get to a theater and see it as soon as I possibly could.

Let's start with the screenplay, shall we? In the past, a number of successful film franchises, such as Back to the Future and those little Terminator films, have dealt with the concept of time travel. For whatever reason, the plot device has remained a viable option for filmmakers in today's society as well, but I don't think I've ever seen it quite done like this. Johnson manages to create a cinematic world where the idea of time travel can understandably exist, and yet, he never takes the time to spell out the precise details for such an existence. Instead, he gives us just enough information for the audience to understand and believe the capability, and it's this tactic that sets Looper apart from the some of the other great time travel flicks. Rather than trying to bash the viewer over the head with drawn-out explanations, Johnson allows the explanation to be this simple: it exists, and it works. For the most part, that's all we need to know.

From there, the film plays out in a relatively straight-forward manner. Anytime you involve time travel, there are going to be a few moments where things can get a little confusing, but the screenplay does well to keep things from getting too convoluted. At the end of the day, I couldn't see any major issues with logic and continuity within the constructs of the story, but some nitpickers will surely find a few minor details here and there. The screenplay does go on to excel in the second half of the film, blending action sequences with a number of thrills and some fantastic plot twists towards film's end. While some of the storyline becomes a tad bit predictable, I can honestly say that I was not expecting the film's ultimately finale, one that just might blow your mind.

To bring this screenplay together, we'd need a pretty good cast, and that's just what we're getting. Gordon-Levitt is fantastic as Young Joe, and with a fantastic bit of make-up, he does his best Bruce Willis impression. In the early going, it's uncanny just how much the young actor mimics the likeness of the veteran, and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. Willis himself also brings a strong performance to the screen. Always one of my favorite actors, I can honestly say that I don't think I've seen him bring forth this strong a character since his turn in 2005's Sin City. I might even go as far back as The Sixth Sense in 1999, if I think about it. Kudos to these two leading men for crafting engaging on-screen characters.

Now, the rest of the cast fills out incredibly well, and you're going to see quite a few familiar faces. Emily Blunt offers a great performance as our leading lady. She continues to impress me with her acting prowess. Also be on the lookout for the likes of Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano and Garret Dillahunt, each of whom brings a great bit to the screen. Where I was truly impressed, however, was with the performance of young actor Pierce Gagnon, appearing in only his third feature film. Even for such a young age, he brought quite a presence and power to the screen, which was definitely a necessity for his particular character. To stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt is quite a feat, but the young Gagnon manages to do just that.

At the end of the day, Looper is a fantastic film, as well as an incredible addition to the science-fiction canon. Sure, it has a few minor flaws here and there, but with any film involving time travel, a bit of disbelief is a bit necessary. If you can let yourself get lost in this world and this story, I don't think there's any reason you won't enjoy the film. Rian Johnson strikes yet again, and I can't wait for his net endeavor.
 
Movie Review SummaryGrade: AStatus: Should See