Sci- fi loops the loop
LOOPER is an ambitious, adrenalised sci- fi thriller that is all brains and all brawn, almost all the time.
First, the brains bit. Looper is a time- travel movie, albeit with a twist. The year is 2044. Time travel is yet to be invented. However, in 2074, time machines exist – and have been outlawed.
Which is not to say time machines are not in active use. A mobster known as The Rainmaker is using a time- travel chamber to dispose of his many enemies. They are bound and hooded, bundled into the device, and sent back to 2044.
Waiting for them at the other end are ‘‘ loopers’’: hitmen trained to do nothing but shoot their prey from the future as soon as they appear in the past.
Sounds a bit complicated, eh? Well, Looper is only getting started with the calendar- shredding, mind- bending stuff, I can assure you.
Remarkably, the film’s ability to confuse and confound never becomes a problem for the viewer. The first act of Looper expertly constructs a narrative maze so intriguing, most will be all too happy to lose themselves inside it. The overall effect is not a parallel world away from Looper ★ ★ ★ ★ ■ Rian Johnson ( Brick) Joseph Gordon- Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Pierce Gagnon. how The Matrix conducted its trailblazing business.
Leading us through the mayhem that will surely follow is Joe ( Joseph GordonLevitt). While he is an experienced looper, Joe is still very much learning on the job.
Rumour has it that The Rainmaker is ‘‘ closing loops’’: making loopers redundant by having them execute their future selves.
But when the time comes for 2044 Joe to kill 2074 Joe ( played by Bruce Willis), the ‘‘ younger’’ self flinches momentarily, and Old Joe ( as he is referred to in the credits) makes a run for it.
You don’t need a doctorate in time theory to realise that having two versions of the same person running around at once is a recipe for disaster.
Ouch. Does your head hurt already or what? How about we move on to the brawn department of Looper then?
As a run- gun- and- stun chase picture, Looper delivers every thrill, jolt and abrupt burst of chaos with supreme confidence.
Nevertheless, the film is not so needy as to press the button marked ‘ action’ whenever proceedings get too quiet for too long.
Indeed, in a gripping final act, Looper locks into a mood that is at once contemplative and compelling.
That imposing, multi- directional plot converges at a place where you will be engrossed and even moved by what comes to pass.
With just his third feature, Looper writer- director Rian Johnson reveals himself to be the most exciting and unorthodox filmmaker to splash into the mainstream since Christopher Nolan.