9 Overall Score
Visuals: 9/10
Plot: 9/10
Casting: 9/10

Strong, sensible plot development, casting, and rendition of time travel.

The time travel element of the film is sometimes a bit too hard to follow.

The problem with time travel movies is that they usually struggle to balance these three things: a) realistic portrayal of the future b) development of the plot according to the space-time continuum and c) capability of being understood. While some films – including Back To The Future and The Terminator – do it right, many of them don’t, especially recent movies (i.e.  Deja Vu, Source Code). But Looper does it right, and in result, it may go down as one of the top films of the year.

Looper is a futuristic science-fiction venture into the world of time travel and mob-hired guns. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, 500 Days of Summer) plays the main character of the film, Joe, who is one of the hired guns, or “loopers.” The job of these so-called “loopers” is to take out targets sent by the mob back 30 years to the current year of 2044; however, time travel hasn’t been invented yet, and in the future, it it highly illegal and restricted to underground use.

The downside of “loopers” is that, though they get paid very well, they are eventually required to close their own loops, which means that after a period of working as hired guns, they must take out their future selves. Thus, they have 30 years to live. The film’s dilemma develops when Gordon-Levitt’s future self – played by the indomitable Bruce Willis (Moonrise Kingdom, The Sixth Sense, Pulp Fiction) – is sent back and, rather than Joe closing his loop, he allows his future self to escape. Willis’ goal after being sent back in time is to take out the “Rain Man,” a young child who grows up to be the soulless leader of the mob. Before you freak out and think that the entire film revolves around a pursuit of killing random children, just know that the plot of Looper has a much more brazen focus – converging on character complexity and exhibiting how changes in the plot affect the pursuit of the main characters’ futures. It’s also an adventure trying to figure out just who the good and bad guys are.

While the plot development could be deemed a success, it’s the movie’s intensity that reaches far and beyond usual sci-fi scripts. Chase scenes are an adrenaline rush of excitement and uncertainty. Flashbacks and flashforwards between Joe’s current life and his future add a little twist to the film, giving different perspectives on the plot and plot events. Dialogue scenes are down-to-earth and humbled, giving full flight to a film script that becomes very much alive and flavorful as the movie progresses. Though the ending of the movie may be a bigger question to the viewer, if it’s taken lightly rather than pondered and second-guessed, Looper is rather satisfying.

Though the film could be thought to be quite a stretch, the expanse is what makes Looper worthwhile. I like directors that go out on a whim, trying to successfully demonstrate something that hasn’t been properly performed in film before, and director Rian Johnson executes with Looper. In this case, the time travel element is a success, and the amount of depth surrounding this element makes the film immensely entertaining. Gordon-Levitt plays a great young Willis; interestingly enough, at times Willis seems to be caught in another addition to the Die Hard series, while Gordon-Levitt demonstrates that he hasn’t fully developed into a true bad-ass yet. But it’s not just the time travel that makes Looper a grand achievement. The visuals of the future seem real and aesthetic – Johnson knows, just like the rest of us, that by 2044 we will still be driving pickup trucks and wearing leather jackets.

Looper does everything that a good movie should: it’s mind-blowing, thought-provoking, and uses plot sophistication and character progression as its means of captivation. Though some of the more time travel-related elements are a bit questionable (this film’s a bit of a brain buster), its portrayal is – for the most part – credible and capable. After a year full of great superhero films, I’d love to see Johnson try his luck at a producing a comic book series. Because with his near-masterpiece, he proves that he’s a director whose films are worth multiple viewings. And Looper is definitely worth multiple viewings.


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Author: Tim Dodderidge View all posts by
I'm a student at the University of Kansas hoping to major in journalism. I love Christopher Nolan films, eating at Taco Bell, and playing indoor soccer. I also like to watch How I Met Your Mother and enjoy writing poetry.

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