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Released: 2012

Directed By: Rian Johnson

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

Certificate: 15

Reviewed By: Darryl Griffiths

Just what would you do.. if you were faced with the prospect of having to kill ‘your future self’? Not the most pleasent of dillemmas, but most certainly a intriguing and playful concept for a cinematic piece. Cue director Rian Johnson collaborating once again with Brick star and ‘man of the moment’ Joseph Gordon Levitt, as they springboard us into the near future for sci-fi actioner ‘Looper’.

It is the year 2044. Levitt plays Joe, who has grown tiresome of his day job as a ‘looper’. Armed with a Blunderbus, his sole objective is to assassinate hooded victims who’ve been sent to their ‘death’ 30 years from the future once their contract expires. With time travel not yet invented and deemed illegal once an option, an organised crime ring led by Jeff Daniel’s Abe reap the benefits.

Eager to ‘close his own loop’ and receive a hefty payoff, Joe psyches himself up to carry out the hit of his future self. With matters complicated by the more generously aged version of Joe (played by Bruce Willis) going on the run after escaping from his own youthful clutches, it soon becomes a game of cat and mouse between the two. Levitt’s Joe eager to finish the job and retain the luxuries that come with such a lifestyle, whilst Willis’ Joe attempts a desperate bid to alter his tragic past which has brought great strain to his psyche. The target? A mysterious figure called The Rainmaker..

With such intricacies in it’s narrative structure, ‘Looper’ could have easily got bogged down in relentless exposition. So it’s credit to Johnson that he keeps proceedings plugging away at the efficient rate he achieves. Aesthetically, the director has crafted a thoroughly believable world which easily bears a few striking resemblances to today’s society. The morally corrupt living the high life.. whilst the everyman is at the mercy of a poor economy sound familiar? His preference to overflow with smarts instead of blockbuster level bombast pays dividends, with the inspired use of narration and gripping bouts of verbal sparring (in particular a lengthy cafe scene involving Willis/Levitt) hitting the mark.

Not showing complete disregard to the more ‘thrilling’ side of science fiction, ‘Looper’ delivers its fair share of inventive action sequences. Incorporating elements such as futuristic hover bikes and the occasional dose of telekinesis, their lasting impact gradually grows in stature, none more so than its exhilarating farmland finale.

At first glance, Levitt eventually morphing into Willis would seem ludicrous. With top notch prosthetics applied he somehow pull its off with another terrific and sympathetic turn, culminating in a remarkable year (TDKR to name one) for the actor. Willis’ fractured version of Joe allows him to do what he does best, command the screen by being a total bad-ass. Complete with a convincing Southern accent, Emily Blunt’s feisty female Sara provides the emotional layer, as herself and her ‘son’ Cid (Pierce Cagnon) are soon immersed into their plot.

Sure, there are obvious nods to bygone genre entries (The Matrix/Inception) and the film’s ‘minimalist’ final moments may polarise, as audiences possibly crave a more emphatic resoloution. However, ‘Looper’ is an outstanding slice of slick science fiction that mainstream Hollywood doesn’t commit to creating enough of.

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