Rental Review - Looper

Looper (2012), R, 119 minutes - I've been hearing good things about Looper since it was released last September.  Even before that, the trailer caught the eye of both myself and my fiance.  Unfortunately, we missed it in theaters, but everything about this film (from the cast and director to the story) screamed that it was a film that I would enjoy and I knew that I wanted to add it to my collection.  Thanks to a number of factors, that didn't happen until early last month when my fiance gave it to me for my birthday.  Having finally had the opportunity to watch this sci-fi/timey wimey film from Rian Johnson (who also directed Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 2005's Brick), I can easily say that it was worth the wait.

Looper is set in the year 2044.  Time travel has yet to be invented, but in the not-too-distant future it will have been.  By the year 2074 time travel has been outlawed.  In that future, the mob has worked out a system in which they send people they need to erase back in time where they are killed and disposed of, successfully eliminating the person while leaving no evidence of their death.  The people responsible for the killing/disposing in 2044 are called Loopers (our main character Joe, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a Looper).  When the mob no longer has a need for a particular Looper, they send that person back to 2044 where they are eliminated by their younger self.  The younger version gets a huge payday and goes on to live out the remaining 30 years of life doing whatever they want.  That is until the mob comes knocking and they are sent back in time to be killed.  As Joe narrates in the film, this is known as 'closing the loop'.  The premise can be a little confusing, but show me a movie dealing with time travel that isn't at times.  The neat thing about Looper is that time travel bit is just an aspect of the film, not the primary focus.  At one point in time, Old Joe (Bruce Willis) tells the younger Joe not to worry about time travel stuff, if he did, it would give him a headache and they'd be there all day discussing it.  I thought this was very amusing because he's not just telling his younger self this, but us viewers as well.  That didn't keep my fiance and I from pausing the movie every few minutes to discuss new theories about what was going on though.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt was quite good in this film.  At first he looks a little bit odd, but you soon realize that is because of the make up/prosthetic he's wearing to make his facial features resemble a younger Bruce Willis.  You get used to that pretty quickly, but the really impressive thing he does is implement quite a few of Willis' mannerisms into his performance, really selling the fact that he is the younger version of the same man.  Gordon-Levitt gives the strongest performance, Willis, Emily Blunt, and Jeff Daniels (who plays the mob man from the future who oversees the Loopers in the year 2044) are all good as well.  Daniels especially considering his limited screen time.  The surprise performance comes from youngster Pierce Gagnon, who plays Cid (Emily Blunt's character's son).  He's a genius of a kid who we learn has a very important tie to the future in which time travel has been outlawed.

I have only one nit-pick and that is in regards to the sound mixing.  The levels are quite drastic.  Action sequences are very loud (as one would expect), but then the non-action sequences are very quiet, almost as if the characters are whispering.  We were constantly adjusting the volume so that we could hear the dialogue but then not get our ears blown out by the action.

If I had seen it earlier, Looper would have easily made my Top 10 of 2012 post.  It isn't just a sci-fi/time travel flick, it has an original premise.  Not only that, but it makes sense.  There is one sequence that will leave you scratching your head, but if you stick with it for a few minutes you'll start to understand what is going on and things become more clear.  After getting excited about it for almost seven months, Looper didn't just live up to my expectations but exceeded them.  If this was ever on your radar, you've probably already seen it.  But if for some strange reason you haven't, give Looper a watch as soon as you can.


  1. This is one of those that are "Must see!" every time we see the trailer, but then we completely forget about it. Will definitely have to rent this one soon. I'm a huge Gordon-Levitt fan; he's a phenomenal actor. I loved some of the more indy stuff he did a few years ago, like "Brick."

    1. Brick was excellent. Have you seen The Lookout? That was another earlier Gordon-Levitt flick which also had Jeff Daniels in it.

  2. Looking forward to checking out this flick. Heard good things!

  3. Just make sure that you know little to nothing about it so it can surprise you, thrill you and make you go "what the hell was that?" in the best way possible! Nice review Tim.

    1. Thank you very much! I completely agree with what you said. I think I probably drove some friends nuts as I cut them off any time it came up in conversation over the last few months in my efforts to avoid spoilers.


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