Josh Wilding Reviews: LOOPER

A masterpiece? Not quite. Rian Johnson's Looper has received an awful lot of praise during the build up to its release today, and while it doesn't quite live up to the hype, it's still a damn good movie. Hit the jump for my spoiler-free verdict.

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By Josh Wilding - 9/28/2012

Chances are that you will have seen an advertisement of some sort for Looper which heralds it as being a "Masterpiece," or "The Best Film Of 2012". Well, while the film is indeed something special, both of these descriptions are a little too generous for Rian Johnson’s solid, but not mind-blowing time travel adventure. The world he has created here is undeniably impressive, and his take on the year 2044 never once feels anything other than very, very real. The writer and director also makes the smart decision to not delve too much into time travel, stopping the film from ever becoming too confusing or convoluted (one scene in which we see the effects of doing something to someone in the present has on their future selves is nothing short of genius). Unfortunately, what stops Looper from reaching a whole other level of quality is the fact that it reaches a certain point and just slows down far too much. It’s hard to go into too much detail about this without spoiling some major plot points, but after a fast paced and thoroughly engrossing first half, the majority of the second half feels far too stretched out despite being full of great character moments and storytelling decisions.

There's no doubting just how smart a film this is, but a lot of the ideas are far from original despite how well Johnson ultimately uses the inevitably familiar time travel clichés. One fairly major plot point is also somewhat predictable, and although the ending is extremely effective, it doesn't quite deliver the impact that the director was more than likely hoping for. However, despite never quite reaching the heights it should, Looper is still a damn good film and the disappointing second half can be forgiven for the most part; just not so much so that the film is the "masterpiece" some would have you believe. While his screenplay may be flawed, there’s no getting around the fact that Johnson is one hell of a filmmaker. Fans of Breaking Bad will remember "Fly" as one of the greatest episodes of that series EVER (no easy feat), and he makes Looper easily one of the most unique and memorable looking releases of the year. He delivers stunning visuals aplenty and the scene in which the years pass to show us how we got from the present Joe to the future one is particularly brilliant.

In terms of performances, it is unsurprisingly Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis who stand out. Made up with some VERY impressive prosthetics, the former still manages to deliver his third solid performance of 2012 (the other two being The Dark Knight Rises and Premium Rush) while not once leaving us doubting the fact that we’re seeing a younger version of Bruce Willis' 'Joe'. Speaking of Willis, he too is on top form here as the older version of the character, and one harrowing scene in particular really gives the actor a chance to show the sort of acting skills that films like The Expendables 2 simply haven’t allowed him to do. There are also plenty of great supporting performances from a wide array of actors who will likely be familiar by face, if not name, although Emily Blunt's 'Sara' doesn’t quite deliver a strong enough performance here to stand out, despite being a mostly well-written and pivotal addition to the cast. Overall, I enjoyed Looper a great deal and look forward to seeing it again, so please don't let the (mostly minor) criticisms here put you off. Unfortunately, it just didn't quite "Wow" me enough to earn a perfect score.

Not quite a masterpiece, but still as brilliant as it is thought-provoking, Rian Johnson's Looper is essential viewing and let down only by the slightly disappointing second half which thankfully still delivers thanks to a powerful ending.






In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented – but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a "looper" – a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to "close the loop," sending back Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination. The film is written and directed by Rian Johnson and also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels. Ram Bergman and James D. Stern produce.


STARRING:

Bruce Willis as Joseph Simmons
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joseph Simmons
Emily Blunt as Sara
Paul Dano as Seth
Noah Segan as Kid Blue
Jeff Daniels as Jack Mitchell
Piper Perabo as Suzie
Garret Dillahunt as Jesse

RELEASE DATE: Out Now!


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33 Comments
marckos - 9/28/2012, 12:54 PM
YEAH BITCH! SI-FI!
scarecrow007 - 9/28/2012, 12:57 PM
To me it was a 5/5, but still a good review.
DioFoRio - 9/28/2012, 12:58 PM
Did it explain why the xenpmorphs were on LV-DNTGVASHT?
DioFoRio - 9/28/2012, 12:58 PM
I'm excited to see this.
DioFoRio - 9/28/2012, 12:59 PM
is there any original ideas anymore or just well executed old ideas?
TruthJusticeSuperman - 9/28/2012, 1:02 PM
I want to know why the mob can use time-travel, and they don't like take over the world or something with that technology
Alfredo27 - 9/28/2012, 1:03 PM
This movie looks so bad. I probably couldn't stand it thru the whole 2 hours. Why wouldn't the future mafia just send people 6 billions years ago to when earth didn't exist yet. Wouldn't that be easier? The last good time travel movie was the one with Denzel Washington that you didnt know was a time travel movie till you saw it.
Alfredo27 - 9/28/2012, 1:04 PM
Thought Provoking lmao like Promethues is thought provoking. [frick]ing idiot
FennecPilot - 9/28/2012, 1:10 PM
Just caught a matinee of Looper. Brilliant film. Smart, intelligent, well paced. VERY unpredictable. I would place this in the "classic" class.

Really well done and very good film.
Fogs - 9/28/2012, 1:15 PM
josh is getting lower and lower in my book
marvel72 - 9/28/2012, 1:22 PM
yeah it looks good,so i'm definetly gonna check it out.
Maximus101 - 9/28/2012, 2:00 PM
Sweeeeet another great movie, I'll be seeing this tomorrow!!!
gaikinger - 9/28/2012, 2:08 PM
Ok so me and my wife just got back from Looper. I saw that it was getting a 93% 0n Rotten Tomatoes so i told my wife who loves time travel stuff that this was going to be a slam dunk! We both agree that it was pretty much meh. I really was hoping for something more but i gotta say............meh. I'm bummed about that too because i really thought it was going to be better. This is myyyyyyy opinion and i'm not going to troll on it....next.
Christuffer - 9/28/2012, 2:11 PM
Well damn Josh you didn't have to diss Wolvie so many times.
Ha1frican - 9/28/2012, 2:12 PM
I will murder the dick head that just ruined the ending for me on Youtube.
gaikinger - 9/28/2012, 2:13 PM
....also...just thought i'd point it out...we went to the first show and it was about 3/4 full. At the end of the movie only one person clapped...it was awkward. Like i said i didnt hate this movie...i thought it was meh. When everybody sees it i have some really spoilery questions i want some answers to.
MisterNiceGuy - 9/28/2012, 2:24 PM
@IM53. Amen brother.my 2 favorite things. nothing better than thos rare occasions when i get to experience both at the same time. my god i love my fiance.

@Agentmi5... my friend showed me that vid 2 days ago its [frick]ing hilarious
NostalgicYouth - 9/28/2012, 3:47 PM
I have to see this movie
gaikinger - 9/28/2012, 4:13 PM
One thing that stands out in this film is Levitt's portrayal as a young Willis. Was their any cf used in this process? That was something new I've never seen before?
gaikinger - 9/28/2012, 4:20 PM
Dredd needs your money....go see Dredd.
mattattack - 9/28/2012, 4:47 PM
I didn't really like the ending but I knew it was necessary and a bold statement. Minus that, I loved every aspect of this film. GO SEE IT NOW!!!
lokibane2012 - 9/28/2012, 6:12 PM
Thanks for this, gonna go see it today. I'd rather know beforehand that it isn't as perfect as hyped, than to go in and be disappointed.
gaikinger - 9/28/2012, 6:17 PM
^^^^^^^happend to me
Lego - 9/28/2012, 6:59 PM
One guy brought up the issue that if the mob had time travel wouldn't they use it for more destructive insane purposes than just covering murder tracks? I mean it's [frick]ing time travel. there is plenty of crazy shit you can do
AsianVersionOfET - 9/28/2012, 7:02 PM
Unreal movie. Tied with TDKR for my favorite movie so far this year. Just the whole feel of it with the cornfields and the future and everything, unbelievable. I loved it. ALMOST a perfect 5/5, 10/10 for me.
Polygame - 9/28/2012, 7:03 PM
Just got home from the theatre with my wife seeing looper. Although there are good moments and good concepts about this movie it is still...meh!?what did I just saw...
lokibane2012 - 9/28/2012, 11:24 PM
Just saw it.
Great, enjoyable film.
Weak predictable ending, which ironically I was surprised by because the rest of the film was so unpredictable that I didn't expect it to go such a generic route.

Definitely worth a watch though. Creative ideas, cool setups, enjoyable action, surprisingly funny.

8/10 (9/10 before the ending)
HarrisonBergeron - 9/28/2012, 11:25 PM
I think the ending could have been better there were better ways to do what needed to be done that would have tied in very well to previous parts of the story.

Other than that personal preference issue I think that it was great. The R rating and post Summer release date killed Dredd, hopefully the same fate does not befall another good sci-fi movie.
HarrisonBergeron - 9/28/2012, 11:32 PM
@lokibane-If you are referring to JGL then I disagree about the ending being predictable, I thought it was a great bit of character realization. He realized that his older self was just as immature as he was, it worked well IMO.

If you are referring to the Rainmaker, not every movie needs to be full on Shyamalan style with absolutely nothing being predictable. I thought it was built up nicely, although the red herring pay off should not have fooled anyone. That scene was well put together, but the story just did not support it, we already knew who was who by then.
OptimusPrimeTime - 9/28/2012, 11:42 PM
This is a good, honest review of a really, really great film. I agree 95%. You do have to pay attention though. I know it threw me for a loop.
HarrisonBergeron - 9/29/2012, 12:05 AM
One thing that kind of let me down a few hours after I'd seen it. I was summarizing it for someone that couldn't care less about sci-fi and it hit my like a ton of bricks- once Willis shows up it turns into T2.
timotey - 9/29/2012, 3:54 PM
Interesting. Tea's dick and wanking comments stay. My constructive criticism of Josh's review gets deleted. Okay. So that how it goes.
YoMAMAwearsARMYboots - 9/30/2012, 7:40 AM
@teabag is hilarious lol

I saw Looper and I thought it had a lot of plot holes. I wanna watch it again.

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