A example of well made storytelling and quite impressive sci-fi film. Looper is kinda film that restores faith in originality in films overall and reminds me that art, entertainment and big heart can fit into one single film. With this thrilling film director/writer Rian Johnson turns all of expectations upside down and creates unforgettable cinematic adventure.
I was not that impressed about his debut feature Brick and his second film, Brothers Bloom was disastrous on almost every level. But with Looper he gets things more right. Some may approach this film as a pure entertainment but it is much more than that. Looper is actually complex, suspenseful, twisty and in the end emotional and touching story about another chance and love with possibility of redemption in it. Johnson's screenplay carries a huge emotional weight on it's shoulders and the well written lead characters feel like real humans with real emotions.
One of Looper's biggest surprises is clearly the performance by Bruce Willis. His older version of hired assassin Joe is possibly his most most well nuanced and complex perfromances in his whole career. It reminded me that Willis is actually an actor with talent and not some mindless action icon, which he too often is seen these days. Sure, there are some action scenes which involve Willis here but the way Johnson stages them is fresh and in contrast Willis give us believable portrait of a tormented soul in a desperate mission to save one person he loves the most. Equally good is always reliable Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as a younger Joe) who proves that he is capable of carrying this kind of leading role completely on his own. With his typical charm and boyish looks he once again wins over audiences empathy, even when he is playing a cold blooded assassin with a bad habit of drug problem. Only minor distraction is Levitt's heavy make-up effects that occasionally is too on the nose. I am not sure if it would be necessary to make it that heavy. Above Willis and Gordon-Levitt is stunning performance by Emily Blunt. Her protective mother Sara, who comes into the story somewhere in the halfway through film and her realtionship to her son Cid, is in the end this film's beating heart. When the story moves into the old farmhouse surrounded by eerie cropfields the whole film elevates into a somewhere so unexpected that you have to admire Johnson's ability as a writer.
Where many other directors might have turned this film into a pure slam-bang action flick, Johnson actually makes it more character driven drama with supernatural sci-fi twist. There are so many different elements on work here. The whole time-travel aspect of this film is quite impressive and Johnson's visual eye is confident as it is inventive. Nathan Johnson's score is haunting and pulse pounding in a just right places. Biggest credit still goes to Rian Johnson himself. Looper is only the third film in this young director's filmography and with it he achieves something truly original. It does not reach the heights of greatest sci-fi films like Duncan Jones' Moon or Ridley Scott's Prometheus, but i admire ambition and innovation behind it. It certainly is worth to see.