Two of my all-time favorite of the favorites movie franchises, Back to the Future and Terminator, revolve around time travel. So naturally, if I had known about Looper a few months earlier before its attention-grabbing first trailer came out, it would have easily landed on our list of most anticipated movies of 2012, especially because I also really liked director/writer Rian Johnson’s feature film debut, the low-budget neo-noir Brick. Armed this time with 60 times the financial fuel, Johnson has sent us another hit with Looper. However, the time-travel tale doesn’t quite live up to the hype nor its potential. Sad face.
While last week’s surprisingly fun Dredd was flashier and more satisfying in the sci-fi visual effects and action violence departments, Looper‘s timeline-tweaking storytelling is definitely the primary draw, and this strength demands multiple viewings. Johnson’s cerebral trip is a ride I definitely plan to take again, despite the film poking some tongue-in-cheek fun at itself by suggesting not to get your brains too fried trying to follow all the ripples stemming from screwing with the space-time continuum. So don’t worry about overloading your gray matter till you’re bleeding out of all your head holes (but you can dive into deep deep discussion and debate if you want to), but on the other hand, don’t worry about not getting enough R-rated action (as if Dredd wasn’t enough) because not only does Looper have its share of violence, but it also includes one of the most unforgettable and spine-tingling sequences of the year.
Once you get past the weirdness of his prosthetic Willis-ish nose and blue contacts, you’ll see that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, fresh off The Dark Knight Rises (I didn’t catch Premium Rush… wait, who did?), delivers another great performance in the spotlight that he shares with Bruce Willis. The I-am-you-and-you-are-me pair is excellently complemented by Emily Blunt (further expanding her repertoire), Jeff Daniels (also adding to his extensive range), and Paul Dano (doing what he does best).
I was a little disappointed that my mind wasn’t ultimately blown or anything, especially with…
… the arbitrary ending that basically could’ve shortened the movie significantly and was a bit of a letdown in terms of payoff.
But I’m very glad that Looper wasn’t near as stupid or boring as some other time travel crappers like Timeline and A Sound of Thunder. Maybe I’m the stupid one and need to rewatch it soon in order to appreciate the subtleties beyond the main plot. And I’ll do it with pleasure because Looper is worth the trip back in time travel. Looper gets 3.5 out of 5 stars or B or Good.