The film “Looper” is director Rian Johnson’s third film and his second starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Levitt plays Joe, a hit man, known as a looper, hired by the mob to kill and then dispose of the bodies sent to him from 30 years in the future.
This is complicated when Joe’s future self (played by Bruce Willis) is sent back in time, requiring Joe to kill him, a task Joe knew he might have to one day complete (known as closing your loop). However, his future self is unrestrained and escapes.
This leads to a collision course between a man determined to create his own future, another determined to preserve the one he’s created, and the mob seeking to destroy them both.
“Looper” is somewhat slow to get started for an action film, but this is because the world it introduces us to, like the film itself, is more complex than most. It asks us to take our time to understand the rules of its universe, to think about the implications of what’s happening even when violence parades onscreen.
Make no mistake, like all good action films of its kind there are awesome shootouts and one-liners, but Johnson also explores deeper themes about identity and our ability to control our own destinies.
This is all supported by a cast whose performances are never less than stellar. Gordon-Levitt plays the role of a young Bruce Willis to perfection, and when he and Willis are on screen together, one truly believes they are the same person from different times.
Supporting performances from Emily Blunt as Sara, Pierce Gagnon as Cid, Jeff Daniels as Abe and Noah Segan as Kid Blue are equally impressive.
The difference between a good action film and a great one is in the writing, and here “Looper” succeeds. The film is willing to acknowledge that time travel may be illogical, but it uses it to create scenes which would be otherwise impossible. The film also poses serious ethical questions.
Despite a few dull moments, it’s hard to argue that, as a whole, “Looper” is anything less than fantastic. By the time it reaches its climax, which you won’t see coming, you’ll know you’ve witnessed something great.