Marcus Reviews Looper

5 Oct

Synopsis:

In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented – but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a “looper” – a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination.

What I Liked:

Allow me to start by saying that I hate time travel as a plot device. It’s an extremely risky thing to work with and too many times has the end result been a sloppy, convoluted mess. So imagine my surprise when I find out that not only did it not turn out to be a disaster here, but it was also handled very precisely and intelligently. That alone is enough to send the highest of kudos to Rian Johnson, who both wrote & directed the film, but he also had the nerve to direct this little movie with the confidence & poise of an experienced, big budget film director AND write an intelligent & heartfelt script to go along with it. And this was only his 3rd film might I add! Hats off to you Mr Johnson for not only holding it all together, but making it look easy.

Everybody in this film was strong (most notably Jeff Daniels as the conniving villain, Abe, and Emily Blunt playing a surprisingly convincing Southerner as Sarah) but at the end of the day this was the Bruce Willis & Joseph Gordon Levitt show and they both knocked it all the way out of the park. Bruce seemed determined to remind everyone that he’s not just an action hero with a furrowed brow and ended up delivering his best performance in years. As we follow Old Joe on his quest for redemption and peace, Bruce had me hooked every step of the way as he really sold the pain, anger & regret over what he’d lost and what he has to do to make things right. As great as Bruce is in this, JGL matches him almost complete. Young Joe is a man trying to evade a future that he know is going to come inevitably and ends up making some reckless decisions along the way. Early on Levitt showcases a suave and charismatic side that I hadn’t seen from him before but then as things begin to unravel he slowly begins to show chinks in his seemingly impenetrable armor of cool only reveal a guy in over his head with no idea just how important every one of his actions are. He was a character who realistically grew throughout the course of the film which makes the film’s climax that much more impactful. Also I have to mention that Levitt, with the aid of the prosthetics, had Wills’ facial expressions and mannerisms down to a science. It was almost eerie seeing them on screen together at times because it really did seem like Bruce Willis was talking to a younger version on himself.

I said earlier that Rian Johnson handled this movie with the poise & confidence of an experienced big budget director and the biggest testament to that is the fact that he, with the help of cinematographer Steve Yedlin, made a film with a 20 million dollar budget look like it was an 100+ million dollar movie. Aside from a couple obvious green screen moments, this movie was absolutely gorgeous and I was amazed with how much they were able to do with so little.

The score for the film, provided by Nathan Johnson, fit it like a glove and never once outshined the movie itself. It was the right blend of futuristic grunge and emotional keys to truly bring the scenes of this sci-fi/noir to life.

I’m usually pretty good and catching the twist to a film early on and it happened here but the build up was handled so expertly and paced so well that it didn’t ruin the reveal for me in the least, which is rare.

There are elements of some of the greatest sci-fi media of all time sprinkled throughout the film such as; The Terminator, Blade Runner, Akira, Cowboy Bebop & Ghost In The Shell; but it never feels like a rip off of any of them.

This really has nothing to do with how good the film is but this movie has one of the best/most non-blatantly hilarious lead-ins to a sex scene that I’ve ever seen.

What I Didn’t Like:

The only outright complaint that I have with this movie is that I wish that they would’ve explored the future a little bit more. There were a few things that I was genuinely curious about that never got answered and I found myself still wondering about those things well after the movie had ended.

Also though it worked most of the time, there were moments where the prosthetics made JGL look ridiculous.

Overall:

Looper is one of those genre films that comes out every once and a while that does something genuinely refreshing, sets the bar higher & makes you rethink what you accepted from said genre before then. We had one of those earlier in the year with Chronicle (which was also ironically a small budget film) and now we’ve come upon one again. Looper is a movie that had a lot about that could’ve gone terribly wrong but rose past it’s limitations and achieved what few sci-fi movies have done in the last few years; made us think, thrilled us and tugged at our heart strings all at the same time. The last sci-fi movie that made me do all of those things at once (not counting Chronicle) was Inception. At face value, Looper may just look like a cool futuristic sci-fi/noir flick, but behind the flash & spectacle is a cautionary tale of how your actions as a youth can truly effect how your future turns out. Boasting amazing turns from Willis & Levitt, strong acting from the supporting cast, impressive visuals, confident direction, a strong score and a tight script, Looper is one of those rare movies turned out to be as fantastic as it is ambitious. God I love when that happens.

Rating: A

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