Film Review: Stunning, Creative Vision of ‘Looper’
CHICAGO – It’s so refreshing to see a talented filmmaker that has been allowed to bring his unique vision to the screen without compromise. You know the feeling when you’re watching a product of a marketing focus group or producer interference and when you’re seeing something fresh, new, and personal. We too rarely get the latter. Whatever you may ultimately think of it, Rian Johnson’s “Looper” is undeniably not a focus group project. It is personal, dark, daring, weird, and refreshingly unique. It is also one of the best sci-fi films of the last several years.
Without spoiling too much, “Looper” is really two movies (and, to be fair, it’s the first half that easily surpasses the second in terms of sheer force of ingenuity). Actually, it may be three or four. It’s a film not unlike “Inception” in the way Johnson always stays ahead of the viewer in terms of storytelling. He gives you just enough road map to stay on the trail but he’s leading the way the entire time and you don’t know for sure what’s around the next bend. It’s amazingly unpredictable in terms of not just plotting but character and style. There have been very few sci-fi films in the last two decades that were this confident. It brings to mind films by Steven Spielberg (“Minority Report”) and Christopher Nolan (“Inception”) -– incredible company for Johnson to keep.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Looper” in our reviews section.|
In one of many elements that separate “Looper” from so many cookie-cutter sci-fi adventures, Johnson wastes no time throwing you into his high-concept world. It’s sink or swim. We’re not only introduced to Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) but a near future in which the economy has collapsed to the point that homeless people clog the streets and telekinetic powers have advanced (although not beyond a bar pick-up trick of floating quarters just above your hand). In this bizarre-but-familiar world that reminds one of “Minority Report” (in that it’s clearly the future but also grounded in our current day), Joe is a very wealthy man. He has made his money as a Looper, a highly-skilled, highly-covert assassin.
Joe and his fellow Loopers (including Paul Dano) don’t operate like normal hit men. Thirty years from now, time travel has been invented and quickly made illegal. Becoming a product of the black market, pulling a Marty McFly became an occupation of the mob. They take targets, send them back in time, and a Looper kills them on sight. The money for the job is strapped to the victim’s back. He disposes of a body that isn’t even supposed to exist. The Looper profession is so underground that the men who kill know that they will one day have the unenviable task of taking the hood off their kill to see their own eyes, thus closing their “loop” and giving them their name. At that point, they know they only have 30 years left but they’re rich and retired.
Photo credit: Sony Pictures