The Ninjabot

Looper Review: JGL and Willis Take Time Travel to a Whole New Level (Spoilers)

Posted on October 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm by Amanda Andonian

First off, I don’t like what they did to JGL’s face. He has a perfectly fine face; it really didn’t need to be altered to look more like Bruce Willis because Gordon-Levitt does an incredible job mimicking the older actor’s mannerisms. I haven’t watched a Bruce Willis movie in a while, but as I was listening to Gordon-Levitt speak, walk, and interact with the other actors, I could totally see Willis in everything that he was doing. He really captured the quiet intensity that Willis brings to every role, and watching them on screen together was awesome.

Secondly, this movie is freaking amazing. I loved everything about it: the writing, the acting, the general story, just everything. Of course, I took issue with minor movie stuff that always happens in action films, such as people falling off of buildings and then walking away with barely a scratch; but that annoyed me more because there’s an emphasis on personal injury being real and brutal in Looper, and so I didn’t like it when they suspended their own rules for a bit.

Third, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, don’t read any further. Seriously. Just don’t. It’s an amazingly written story, incredibly well-acted, and you’ll enjoy it best if you go in without any knowledge of how things play out. Instead of reading this, just go watch the movie, because I guarantee that you will love it.

Of course, I do want people to read my review, though, so there aren’t really any spoilers below. However, there’s enough information that the twists and turns in the movie will be more predictable once you do see it. So if you’d rather watch movies without having any idea of what’s going to happen, then I recommend watching Looper before you read any reviews.

Detailed Looper Review Starts Here. Again, don’t read if you don’t want the movie spoiled.

The basic plot: Looper takes place about thirty years in the future and initially follows the timeline of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose character is conveniently named Joe. He works as a looper, a hired assassin who shows up at a specified location and time to dispose of people being sent back to the past by the mob in the year 2072. The mark appears out of thin air—bound, gagged, and with a hood over his or her head—and the looper shoots them immediately and collects the silver strapped to the dead person’s back.

Joe makes a good living, spends his money on drugs, and pines over a dancer/prostitute played by Pepper Peribo, who I can’t stand, so I’m glad she wasn’t in the movie very much. It seems like an empty life, even if it pays well, and the movie does a superb job of conveying that through the repetitive monotony of Joe’s everyday life. Get up, drive out to the field, shoot the mark, dispose of the body, go to the club to spend his newly earned money on drugs and hookers.  looper review

For whatever reason, the mob has a rule that if you’re still alive in 30 years, then you have to close your loop by killing your future self, who’s sent back in time just like any other mark. On the day he shows up, the pay is gold rather than silver, and you know that you’ve closed your loop and it’s time to retire. Of course, things go horribly awry when Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back, and it sets off a chain of events that are both timey-wimey, heart breaking, and mind blowing.  looper review

Like any good science fiction movie, although Looper uses time travel as its primary plot device, it’s not about that at all. Looper is really a movie about the lengths that people will go to in order to get what they want, whether that’s money, revenge, or even someone’s love. Young Joe just wants to make enough money to move to France and live out his life in comfort, and Old Joe wants to save the woman he loves in the future. What both men are willing to do to accomplish that is surprising and gut-wrenching.

The real star of this movie, though, is Pierce Gagnon, who plays a little boy named Cid that Young Joe sets out to protect, as well as Cid’s mother, Sara (Emily Blunt). For the sake of brevity, I’m not going to go into the specifics on what his character’s role is, but Gagnon is probably the most incredibly talented child actor that I’ve ever seen. The range of emotion that he displays and maturity of his movements is at once fascinating and disturbing. His performance is a stroke of genius; if Gordon-Levitt and Willis set up the theme and lessons of the film, then Gagnon carries it all straight home. Had they cast a slightly less talented actor, or if the writing had been more heavy handed as far as Cid’s personality goes, I don’t think that the plot of Looper would have been nearly so successful.

That being said, the character of Cid also brings up the question of what choices we would make if we knew what the future held for us. Would we try to alter it, and if so, how far are we willing to go in order to change our futures? Would we be willing to kill for it? Or would we hope for the best and try to alter the course of the future in other ways?

I’m definitely going to go see it again, and I’m encouraging everyone I know to see it as well. Have you seen Looper yet? What did you think? Do you agree with me that it’s one of the best original science fiction films to come out of Hollywood in a long time? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516 and gush about JGL with her!

    • Stephen Janes

      This movie was crazy good. Easily one of the best I've seen this year. Great write-up!

    • Parabo

      up until you dissed Piper Parabo, I thought you were ok. then I realized you suck

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