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Looper (2012)

While I’ve been taking yet another break from the wonderful world of social media I’ve been watching plenty of films (as you’d well expect). The other night I watched a movie that I’d seen a couple of times before in the past but hadn’t watched for a while.

Looper (2012)

If you haven’t seen it, it’s an interesting sci-fi/drama/thriller starring Joseph Gordon Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises), Bruce Willis (Die Hard), Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), Paul Dano (The Batman) and Jeff Daniels (Arachnophobia) among others.

This is what it’s about according to the internet:

“In a future society, time-travel exists, but it's only available to those with the means to pay for it on the black market. When the mob wants to eliminate someone, it sends the target into the past, where a hit man known as a looper lies in wait to finish the job. Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is one such hired gun, and he does his job well - until the day his bosses decide to "close the loop" and send Joe's future self (Willis) back in time to be killed.”

I really like this movie. It’s hard to believe that it was written and directed by Rian Johnson, the man who almost single handedly murdered all chances of the latest Star Wars trilogy being any good (J.J. Abrams has a lot to answer for that too).

Although I’ll never forgive him for derailing a fairly respectable attempt at creating a new and promising Star Wars trilogy, I have to admit that his non-Star Wars offerings have been a lot more enjoyable (he also wrote and directed Knives Out as well as directing three episodes of Breaking Bad back in the day).

Star Wars aside, this movie seems to play much more to Johnson’s strengths. It has a very original premise and good performances from all involved.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the young Bruce Wills character, Joe and does a fine job of it too. He’s almost unrecognisable under all of the prosthetics and the contact lenses needed to make him resemble the Die Hard actor, and to be honest it’s a little distracting at first. You do kind of get used to it as the story moves along though.

I’ve always thought such extreme prosthetics were an interesting way to go. I can’t think of many other films that have gone to the same lengths to make an actor’s likeness so authentic without the use of CGI. The most recent example has to be in The Batman (2022) where Colin Farrell is virtually unrecognisable as Oz/Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin).

As it happens, it turns out Rian Johnson is a big fan of practical effects and prefers to use them over CGI whenever possible.

There are even scenes in this movie which were achieved by using wires and other methods that if you didn’t know otherwise, you’d think were digital effects. Hats off to him for that.

Obviously the whole premise of the movie revolves around time travel, and of all the travel-related movies I’ve seen I like that this one’s a little different.

Not only is the whole idea of sending people back in time to be killed because it’s impossible to dispose of their bodies in the future pretty cool, the movie addresses certain issues related to two versions of the same person being in the same time and space. Things like new memories being formed instantly (for the older version of the person) and also, what would happen to your older self if your younger self were to have one of their limbs cut off for example…?

I won’t say any more about that in case you haven’t seen it.

The film moves along at a really nice pace with the second half being very different to the first after the introduction of Emily Blunt’s character, Sara. It’s a nice turning point in the movie and freshens things up just as you might be at risk of losing interest.

If you like sci-fi - more specifically films like Twelve Monkeys (1995), The Terminator (1984), Minority Report (2002) and dare I say even the X-Men franchise and Witness (1985) I recommend giving this a watch. It’s a very original take on the whole time travel idea and proof that just because someone can make a good sci-fi movie, doesn’t mean you should let them anywhere near the next Star Wars film.

Seen it? Let me know what you think.

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