Time the en­emy

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

REAL win­ner, Rian John­son’s Looper is a twisty, whip-smart vari­a­tion on The Ter­mi­na­tor.

The al­ways-won­der­ful Joseph Gor­donLe­vitt (star of John­son’s high-school noir Brick) plays a hit man in the year 2042 who’s oper­at­ing in a highly spe­cialised niche. His vic­tims are dropped off, bound and hooded, in a pre­ar­ranged spot in a Kansas corn­field. All he has to do is shoot them, dis­pose of the bod­ies in a fur­nace in a nearby aban­doned fac­tory and col­lect the sil­ver bars on their backs as pay­ment.

He’s one of a squad of ‘‘loop­ers’’. The vic­tims have been sent from 30 years in the fu­ture – where time travel has been dis­cov­ered. One of the time-travel de­vices has fallen into the hands of a fear­some crime boss who de­vises this unique out­sourc­ing (back sourc­ing?) ar­range­ment, since dis­pos­ing of bod­ies is far more dif­fi­cult in 2032 thanks to ad­vances in foren­sics.

There’s only one catch for the loop­ers: One day, their vic­tim is go­ing to be their fu­ture selves. When they dis­pose of their fu­ture selves, the loop­ers are given a cushy re­tire­ment – but it lasts ex­actly 30 years.

Gor­don-Le­vitt’s fu­ture self, beau­ti­fully played by Bruce Wil­lis, wants to beat the game when he’s shipped back to 2042. Not only does he man­age to elude his fate, he’s de­ter­mined to wipe out the fu­ture crime boss who or­dered the ex­e­cu­tion of the woman he loved in the fu­ture.

The crime boss in the past – who was sent back from the fu­ture to over­see the op­er­a­tion and is played by Jeff Daniels – or­ders all of the loop­ers to hunt down both Gor­don-Le­vitt and Wil­lis.

The whole thing comes to a head at a des­o­late farm house where Emily Blunt (do­ing a very cred­i­ble Amer­i­can ac­cent) is guard­ing the fu­ture crime boss, an al­ready trou­bled 10-year-old, with a shot­gun.

While there’s no short­age of im­pres­sive ef­fects – sev­eral char­ac­ters have tele­ki­netic pow­ers – John­son wisely largely es­chews them in the film’s char­ac­ter-driven mid­dle sec­tion, as these three char­ac­ters with vary­ing and chang­ing mo­tives size each other up and the po­ten­tial out­comes of their ac­tions.

Looper is an indie-in­flected pop­corn movie with ma­jor brains and a highly sat­is­fy­ing pay-off.

Wil­lis, who de­served an Os­car nom­i­na­tion for The Sixth Sense but didn’t get one, may ac­tu­ally get a sup­port­ing nod for his stel­lar work here.

opens to­day.

Bruce Wil­lis (left) and Joseph Gor­donLe­vitt (right) star in

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