by A. Journey

Dir. Rian Johnson; Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

What makes a person who they are? How do events change the path of someone’s life? And what is the impact of the people and environment around you? These questions, among many others, are at the center of Looper and have been on my mind since I’ve left the theater. Blending elements of film-noir with time-travel sci-fi, Looper is a unique and smartly structured thriller with engaging characters and a lived-in, fully realized world. Almost everything in the film is left ambiguous, too; not from a plot standpoint, mind you–the ending is fairly clear–but as far as the characters and their actions. There is no clear good and bad for the film’s entirety, and even when you think there is, you’ll probably rethink those assessments when the movie is finished. The greatest strength of the movie, putting aside style for a moment, is the way it gets the audience to grapple with questions about how they feel about what is going on in the film, how characters are interacting with one another, what their motivations are, etc. Looper is not only the most important film this year, thus far, but as a strikingly original, post-modern movie that is anything but “typical Hollywood,” Looper brings to mind shades of The Matrix and will be a major influence in cinema just as that one was before it.

I just wrote an in depth review, my first in awhile, but my computer just gave out and I lost it all of my work. No joke. If only I could time travel like in Looper... Here were the highlights, and I’ll leave you to imagine the rest of the review:

  • Looper takes just as much from Hitchcock and private eye stories as it does Blade Runner and Minority Report, mixing in spaghetti Westerns with old-school gangster movies for good measure, creating a unique genre concoction that will please any kind of film fan.
  • JGL (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is amazing in this. He’s been having one heck of a year considering he is the most intriguing character in both the year’s best movies–this and John Blake in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • The writing is incredible, especially in regard to the characters’ internal struggles. As I watched the movie, I found myself caring deeply about each character and the direction of their arcs, which is something that has not happened to me while watching a movie, with such consistency,  in a long time.
  • Discovering what is new in the future world, with all those solar energy-converted cars and all that Chinese currency, is half the fun of the movie. While a bit more pessimistic than the future in Minority Report, the world in Looper seems just as, if not more, plausible.

There isn’t much that doesn’t work with Looper. Though it borrows from used genres and familiar storylines, the unique way in which it is written, filmed, and packaged makes Looper  entirely unique. The film will be talked about for years to come and will be an influence on filmmakers for a long time.

If you’re still here, let me offer you another question that the movie begs you to ask: If you could go back in time, before Adolf became Hitler, would you kill him?