Stylish and intelligent yet thrilling, Looper is a near perfect Sci-Fi film, and a possible contender for best film of 2012
Finding a genuinely original Sci-fi film at the box office these days is a rarity, so much of the genre's reputation has been tarnished by sequels, prequels, re makes and adaptations (specifically more recently adaptations of boardgames, see Peter Berg's Battleship to see Liam Neeson's acting career go further down the toilet.) Yet every once in a while, we get something genuine, something spectacular yet moving, this year it's Rian Johnson's Looper.
Set in the American state of Kansas in the year 2044, the story revolves around an assassin or 'Looper' named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt.) We're told time travel has been invented 30 years from 2044, and has been immediately made illegal, only used by the mob underground and crime syndicates. Joe's job is to kill individuals sent back in time by these crime groups and dispose of the evidence, to a rather hefty reward. However things turn 'heavy' when the future Joe (Bruce Willis) is sent back for his present self to kill. I won't reveal any spoilers, but the ensuing hour of the film is thrilling, well acted and contains some stunning imagery.
Joseph Gordon Levitt perfectly nails the younger Bruce Willis. He doesn't over exaggerate or become a mimicking mockery of a stereotypical Willis, instead it is clear he has closely matched his mannerisms to give a well rounded, restrained yet edgy performance. Willis is similar, and this has to be one of his best films in years. Again like Levitt it is a moderate performance, yet through this we can also see the agony behind the stone face. The pain of his lost life and even worse the anguish to get it back again questions the deepest morals of the character, Willis' portrayal is nothing short of superb. Emily Blunt's supporting role as Sara is also just as important, her tough attitude combined with a fierce love of her child makes for interesting scenes with Joseph Gordon Levitt's junkie. Other supporting characters include Paul Dano's Seth in another notable performance.
However the stealing elements of 'Looper' are not its acting, but its brilliantly crafted story as well as its striking cinematography. Beautiful scenes of iconic American landscapes dominate the film, from diners in the desert to Kansas cornfields. The creation of a futuristic city is also realistic and never once over the top. The little details such as references to China being the world number one superpower, new technologies and a large homeless population presumably caused by a continued economic problem cement Looper as one of the smartest sci-films of the last 10 years. 5/5