— Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp from
The Rum Diary, 2011
You are Here » Reviews » Review: Looper
September 28, 2012
— Posted by Ryan
Synopsis: In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.
While “Looper” focuses on time travel, this is not entirely what the film is about. The time travel aspect of the film makes for some great “make you think” moments and special effects, but the purpose of time travel in this film is to present a character’s internal struggle externally to the audience. By putting a young and reckless Joe versus an older and experienced one, the audience is able to watch one character develop from two different actors. I thought this was a very unique concept compared to many of the redundant stories and themes we’ve seen in other films because the protagonist and antagonist are essentially the same person.
The aspect of two characters playing one is a unique strength of the film but it is also a flaw. Even though they are the same person, there was a needed amount of time to develop the Joe from the future and the Joe from the past. The amount of time spent on back story takes away from some very intriguing sci-fi concepts introduced early in the film and reintroduces them at points where they’ve almost been forgotten by the audience, like the effects of time travel and the evolution of the human race. It is clearly stated in the trailer and the film that the focus is not time travel when Bruce Willis says, “I don’t want to talk about time travel,” but it would have been nice to see a bit more elaboration on the concepts that were introduced early on and only discussed in bits and pieces throughout the film.
While the plot is interesting, it is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance that is the highlight of this film. He is on the rise right now and “Looper” is a good depiction of why. His portrayal of a younger Bruce Willis is unbelievably accurate. From his voice to a simple look over the shoulder, JGL matches Willis’ every motion and expression while still managing to make the character uniquely his own. The only downside to his character would be the makeup job. In low lighting it is fine, but in the more well lit scenes the overly large eyebrows make him look more like a caricature of Willis rather than a younger version.
Bruce Willis could almost be considered a supporting actor based on his screen time versus JGL’s screen time. Willis was effective in his role despite playing the same type of character we’ve seen him play before. His best moments in the film are when he is in a close proximity discussion with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. There you get to see how well their mannerisms match while also noting the differences of how the character has evolved over time. The other minor roles serve a minimal purpose in the film. Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels add story to the time travel, mob aspect of the film and Emily Blunt and Piper Perabo add to the conflict between the main character/s.
I thoroughly enjoyed “Looper.” The story held my interest from start to finish and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance was amazing. My one suggestion would be to not go into the film expecting a sci-fi action film because you could easily lose sight of the film’s focus. As a sci-fi fan, I was disappointed with the lack of time travel discussion and other elements introduced, but the film comes together at the end and shows its true colors as a strong character development piece. With this film you get a bit of everything and it is sure to satisfy a variety of tastes.
This post was written by :
First and foremost, Ryan Brown is a fan. He has been an avid fan of both the theater and cinema since an early age and his passion for both has been continually growing ever since. When dissecting a film, he focuses on all elements of film-making including some fan/cult factors. He believes that character development is the foundation of a good film and usually starts his analysis of a film from there moving forward. His writing style may be influenced by his background of narrative and argumentative studies in the subject, but he tends to enjoy a more conversational style to better interact with the readers, unlike some other pretentious and pompous writers.
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