Joe, a hitman known as a looper, kills men sent back from the future until he discovers the man sent back to be killed is himself. It gets more complicated when the older Joe is in search of a small boy who will grow up to become “The Rainmaker”, the new head of the mob who ordered his hit.

Looper felt like a bit of a coming-out party for Rain Johnson. The film is full of unique, high-concept sci-fi ideas, stylish cinematography, and beautifully crafted dialogue. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis both play Joe 30 years apart. A great deal of attention was initially given to Levitt’s prosthetic makeup to look more like Willis. It almost feels quaint today compared to the current use of deepfake technology in film. Sadly, the makeup distracts from a quality performance by Gordon-Levitt. His subtlety in line delivery, posture, and facial expressions absolutely reflect Willis. Willis also performed well. With almost fifty credits following Looper this is probably the last great performance of his career. It’s evident that Rian Johnson knew exactly how to use Willis’ strength to the film's advantage.

One can’t help but look at Rian Johnson and his trajectory after this movie. He showed that he could deftly run a unique sci-fi story and was rewarded with Star Wars VII: The Last Jedi. He showed that he could balance multiple high-profile actors in a story about crime and murder while still having fun and got to make Knives Out with a sequel not far away. Looper holds the DNA of Johnson’s future projects while feeling distinct, like nothing else he’s done.

There are times when it feels like the sci-fi kitchen sink was thrown out having everything from time travel, telepathy, and speeder bikes. The first third of the movie is a large exposition dump but is craftily written and shot to not be overwhelming.

Looper is absolutely worth checking out.


Review by Josh Weirschke

Block or Report