We will go loopy (no time travel needed)
In the not too distant future, things haven’t changed much. People wear ties. Certain sections of society have developed largely useless telekinetic skills.
Some ride around on hover-cycles − provided they can get them started. Many are addicted to a drug that you put in your eyes. And time travel exists − but only certain criminal syndicates have access to it. One of the highest paid occupations you can have is called ‘Looping’: mob men, from 30 years further in the future, send their hits, bound and gagged, back through time to a designated spot where the ‘Looper’ is waiting. The Looper executes the hit and incinerates the body. Clean. No trace. For his trouble, the Looper lives like a king. That is, until one day the hit they’re facing is … their future self.
Time travel can be a tricky business, but most of the semantics are deftly addressed in voiceover during the opening minutes. Keep your ears open and strap yourself in because the film barely slows for the following hour. When it does change pace, you’ll be treated to some of the most confident, well thought-out drama this side of an Oscar. If there’s a film to finally propel sci-fi into industry respectability it should be this one. Of course statuettes are unlikely, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt deserve recognition for truly luminous performances. Gordon-Levitt plays our lead, a Looper named Joe whose future self (Willis) escapes execution. Even before his future self shows up, it’s possible to recognise Levitt channelling Willis with such subtlety and precision as to be almost chilling.
Willis’ presence serves to highlight the film’s undeniable resemblance to Twelve Monkeys, while the legendary anime Akira is also brought to mind. In his minimalist approach to crafting a recogni0sable future, writer/director Rian Johnson also recalls the likes of Andrew Nichols’ directorial debut Gattaca.
Ultimately, Looper belongs to that cerebral sub-genre of sci-fi that remembers to give equal consideration to both the quiet reflections and the whizz-bang thrills. It’s refreshing to see something this good not adapted from a bestseller, but rather forged from a singular vision. A classic is born.
Dir: Rian Johnson; US action/drama, 2012, 118 mins; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels
Premieres October 4