Film Review: Looper

LooperRian Johnson’s Looper is entertaining dystopian science fiction. It is not entirely satisfying, but does the trick overall.

In 2044, Joe is a Looper, ready to assassinate anyone who the mob of 2077 send back in time. When hired guns like Joe have their contract terminated, they find out by having their future bodies sent back to 2044 to be exterminated. When Joe’s future self gets sent back it triggers a momentous chain of events…

On the surface, Looper is very much like a cross between The Terminator and X-Men. Strong elements of these earlier science fiction movies are overt in Rian Johnson’s film. Johnson paints the future with the kind of dystopic imagery often seen in films of this genre from the 1980s.The film does make overt an overt reference to the styling, which perhaps acts as a metaphor for the narrative itself.

There is a distinct split in Looper from when Joe reaches the farmhouse. Prior to this, the film runs in the Terminator vein. With the change in scenery however, Looper appears to ape X-Men. The first half of the film is stronger than the second. The futuristic depiction and pacing in the first half makes the second half less satisfying.

With its allusions to the 1% and a corruption-led future, Looper feels very contemporary. Despite the bleak vision of the future, Johnson’s film is ultimately positive. The ending points to more traditional values, despite all that has preceded it.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt put in a solid performance as Joe, despite some distracting prosthetics. Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt offer good support. Pierce Gagnon is excellently cast as Cid, bringing the right sense of unnerving to the character.

Like some other time-travel movies, Looper throws up questions over plotting. However, the film is never dull. Looper is a enjoyable addition to the genre.

Looper is out on DVD and Blu-Ray from 28th January 2013.