Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Looper - A Review
Looper is the third release from director Rian Johnson, known to audiences previously as the man behind Brick (in which he first collaborated with Joseph Gordon Levitt) and The Brothers Bloom. Both of Johnson's previous films had warm receptions, but Looper comes on the back of particular hype in the film world, the reasons for this likely being the general acclaim Looper has recieved following advance screenings, Levitt's recently increased status following The Dark Knight Rises and also the fact that Summer 2012 noticably failed to produce a standout Science Fiction thriller- or at least one that audiences could agree on, with movies like Prometheus receiving mixed reviews and Totall Recall falling flat on it's face. So the timing of Looper seems excellent, but does it live up to the anticipation?
Well, fortunately the hype is very much to believed as Looper is without a doubt the best sci-fi film of the year and a real treat for fans of the genre. The story follows Gordon Levitt as Joe Simmons, an assassin or 'looper' who is paid by criminal organisations from the future to murder and dispose of bodies. This is all made possible by the invention of time travel in 2074, and so victims are sent thirty years into the past where they are taken out by loopers such as Joe.
When Joe is confronted by his future self (Bruce Willis), he fails to prevent him from escaping. Old Joe is hellbent on destroying the loop and keeping himself in the present, and attempts to warn Young Joe of a destructive leader in 2074 who rules the city, but Young Joe is only concerned with killing his future self, as failure to do so will result in death by his current employers who are hunting Joe as he chases his older form.
While this may sound like a lot to take in, the film is relativley straight-forward and will not pose any problems for audiences who are in fear of getting lost in the plot. In fact, Johnson chooses to focus more on emotional depth and character development over a complicated plot structure, in contrast to recent sci-fi classics, and Looper benefits hugely from this. Old Joe has cleaned up his act and is desperate to explain to Young Joe that he is deeply in love with his future wife, and while at first Young Joe refuses to comprehend this idea, hi mind is soon changed following his encounter with lonely wife Sara (Emily Blut) and her troubled, yet strangely gifted son Cid (Pierce Gagnon), as he hides out at their barn while attempting to escape the mob.
The romantic angle of the story is unusual for this type of film, and yet it works perfectly, tying in well with the pace of the 118 minute running time, and it never feels as though it is interrupting the overall plot. There are also some fun comedic moments which help to lighten the tone, but make no mistake, this is an action film and there are plenty of explosive scenes to take from this that ensure it stands up to comparisons to films such as The Matrix and Inception.
Another huge strength that Looper boasts is in it's excellent casting, and while the leading duo of Gordon Levitt and Willis are their reliable selves, the standout performance of the film is Pierce Gagnon as a young, confused child, who possesses powers he does not understand and cannot control. Gagnon effortlessly steals every scene he is in with an exceptionally creepy performance that will be remembered for years to come.
In conclusion, Looper delivers on it's promise with it's intelligent, thought-provoking script and stylish direction. The comparisons have been justified; Looper is a stone cold sci-fi classic and demands to be seen. A serious contender for film of the year.