Ever wished to go back in time? To go back to fix that one mistake that caused a terrible outcome to occur? The concept of time travel has been integrated within the media for years, whether it is a book such as “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” by Douglas Adams, or a movie such as “Looper” directed by Rian Johnson. What if you were to encounter your future self: What would you do? “Looper” dives into the concepts of time travel and succeeds flawlessly to the point where you wish you could go back in time just to watch the movie again.
The premise of “Looper” may seem rather complex and hard to grasp, but it is relatively simple. The year is 2044, and the United States has been suffering from a economic collapse, causing people to live off what they have while organized crime has grown at an alarming rate. Thirty years into the future in 2074, time travel is invented, however, it is forbidden to use it. The main character, Joseph “Joe” Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works for a mafia company who uses time travel to kill people from the future. One day, Joe happens to encounter his older self (Bruce Willis) whom does not intend to die and is able to run away. Therefore, present Joe is left to chasing after his future self. Several situations occur that make it difficult for both Joes to survive. The plot of “Looper” is original, unique, and will keep you at the edge of your seat throughout the entire film.
In the past, Joseph Gordon-Levitt didn’t always do action-packed films. His first huge lead actor role was in 2005’s “500 Days of Summer” by Marc Webb, where Gordon-Levitt played the rather hopeless romantic dream-boat that all the girls want to just hug and say, “Awww.” Ladies started to want to be with him and guys wanted to be like him.
In “Looper,” Gordon-Levitt is a complete opposite of his dreamboat character in “500 Days of Summer.” Gordon-Levitt plays the role of stone cold killer, Joe, perfectly. The intensity and amount of emotion Gordon-Levitt displays in the film left me in a state of shock. In one scene, Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is staring his future self (Willis) straight in the eye as they sit in a shady run-down diner and says with such severity, “I don’t give a fuck about your wife and I don’t give a fuck about you.” This scene along with the entire film showcases that Gordon-Levitt is one of the most versatile and best actors in the entertainment industry.
Gordon-Levitt isn’t the only veteran actor in the film. Bruce Willis gives a spectacular performance, as one would expect from the legendary action-hero actor. Willis gives one of his best performances since “Pulp Fiction.” Bruce Willis often plays Bruce Willis, but here he’s really required to act; in one scene in particular, he’s such a standout that he’s worthy of Oscar consideration for a supporting role. However, not only are the acting performances jaw-dropping to say the least, but the style of the film is incredible as well.
Along with the acting, one of the biggest strengths of the film is its style and its world-building. Director Rian Johnson performs various feats of clever genre hopping, blending sci-fi with realism, which makes the world of “Looper” fresh and familiar.
The film is extremely dark as the world within the film is not a joyful land full of flowers. It’s a run-down, barren, and rather depressing place as the economy is at an all-time low. I found myself being truly immersed in the world of “Looper” due to Johnson’s direction along with his production design. His economically limping future has an unusual retro feel, and his shootouts are crisp, gory and witty.
Watching “Looper,” you can expect to be entertained, as you will experience intense gunfights, a thought-provoking plot, and incredible acting. In numerous scenes you’ll find yourself questioning your own life, while in other scenes you’ll cheer for the characters within the film. You will laugh, smile, and find yourself almost on the verge of crying during the film, and that’s what makes it one of the best of 2012. Time travel has never been so extraordinary.