Looper (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: Looper (2012)

Looper (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

Holding himself hostage.

Stop me if you’ve heard the premise of Looper before. 2044. Time travel hasn’t been invented yet. Fast forward thirty years later, when time-travel is illegal and used by future gangsters to dispatch targets. The target is bound, hooded and sent back to a one-way encounter with a Looper — hired guns in 2044 making an easy living by blowing holes through unwilling 2074 time travelers. Silver bars strapped to the bodies are their reward and in a Chinese yuan dominated US, that’s a currency to kill for.

Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is good at his job, but he knows, as do his fellow Loopers, that sooner or later he’ll unwittingly “close the loop,” murdering his older self and making his demise certain. The problems begin if a Looper lets the target get away and . . . that’s all you need to know frankly. Much of this is delivered via voiceover by Gordon-Levitt, attempting to disappear underneath prosthetics to emulate the specific features that define the old, bald badass Bruce Willis, who pops back from the future, knocks out his younger self out and goes on the run.

Why he’s back and not resigned to closing the loop is a question, but not the question this writer feels director Rian Johnson (“Brick,” “The Brothers Bloom“), who also penned the script exploring his intelligent, bloody and surprisingly accessible third film, is trying to answer. Taking the road of avoiding spoilers almost completely, in summary Looper is a film about choosing between the man you are and the man you could be. Young and Old Joe tussle as we’d expect them to but the second and third acts settle into essentially a single location and begin to set up a climax that is vastly different from what you’d expect.

Looper (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

Waiting for a job.

Johnson could have easily supplied an action film that saw the younger star snatch the action mantle away from the grizzled veteran, but the director likely looked to “12 Monkeys” and “Children of Men” as examples and set out to subvert expectations, crafting a thriller that concludes with an unexpected emotional gut-punch. Credit to Johnson too for creating a thought-out, well realized world that does not seem implausible, just a shade or two removed from our current turmoil if humanity, in particular America, doesn’t pull itself out of an economic tailspin. Supporting players like Paul Dano, playing fellow Looper Seth, Piper Perabo as Suzie, a paid companion to the younger Joe, Jeff Daniels as present-day Looper mob general Abe, and Emily Blunt as weathered but not withered single mother Sara do a great job of elevating the moments not spent in company of the two Joes. Noah Segan, who made a memorable impression in “Brick,” is a formidable opponent as the unhinged Kid Blue.

Going into Looper with a clean slate and a desire to connect with Johnson’s twisted and frequently disturbing world is a must. Spoilers will sap away at the viewer, in particular with the change of pace and a lack of massive action set-pieces. What this film comes down to, as many good films do, is a small group of characters locked in a possibly fatal struggle, each fleshed out and their intentions clear. What happens next is what makes Looper memorable and worth of discussion. Something tells this writer the film will age well.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
4 Star Rating: Good


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'Movie Review: Looper (2012)' have 21 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 30, 2012 @ 2:50 pm scooter

    best sci-fi movie of the year. sorry prometheus.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 30, 2012 @ 3:16 pm Jokermange

    Love interesting time travel movies.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 30, 2012 @ 3:22 pm KennyLives

    Willis was awesome in 12 Monkeys which is my all time favorite science fiction movie employing time travel. This better than that?

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      October 14, 2012 @ 10:29 pm Hermes


  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 30, 2012 @ 4:41 pm Evan

    Prometheus left me empty. I’m hoping Looper gives me my science fiction fix I’ve been craving this year.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 30, 2012 @ 6:18 pm charlie

    For a sci-fi flick the lack of funds to futurize the world is evident but it is still a well constructed and entertaining movie. Gordon-Levitt and Willis are great. So is Emily Blunt.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 30, 2012 @ 6:36 pm DieselBrain

    There’s a few glaring plot holes (every movie involving time travel has them) but they’re easy enough to look past. If you’re a sci-fi fan it’s definitely worth a watch.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 30, 2012 @ 7:13 pm Petrushka

    Really cool premise but quickly devolves into a standard action flick.

    Deserves no more than a 2/5 rating

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 1, 2012 @ 9:37 am Head Winds

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s prosthetics are weird to look at.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 1, 2012 @ 2:49 pm Bobbyjack

    Levitts best performance to date. He’s come a long way from 3rd Rock From The Sun…

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 1, 2012 @ 3:16 pm Simonize

    Smart film. Will require several viewings to figure out all the connections though.

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 1, 2012 @ 6:31 pm Judge Smails

    Nagging question – why do they send the old looper back in time to be offed? Wouldn’t it make more sense to kill them in the future, send the body back in time and have the body disposed of by a ‘disposer’?

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 1, 2012 @ 7:02 pm OregonDon

    As the movie leaves a lot of unanswered questions, there is an interview with Rian Johnson at slashfilm that provided some anwers.

  13. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 1, 2012 @ 7:29 pm Coldred

    Majorly disapointed. Very confusing.

  14. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 1, 2012 @ 9:24 pm MoreLester

    Movies that bounce between time periods confuse me too much.

  15. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 2, 2012 @ 10:12 am Bulldog

    First half of the movie is a shot of adrenaline. Second half is a shot of methadone. They don’t mix particularly well.

  16. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 2, 2012 @ 1:39 pm FeFeghost

    Most original science fiction in years. Even better than the dizzying Inception (which also starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

  17. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 2, 2012 @ 4:43 pm Glenn Kirkland

    A bigger budget could have helped the movie immensley.

  18. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 2, 2012 @ 8:21 pm Chidi

    loved it.

  19. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 4, 2012 @ 10:34 am rotorhead

    That kid is fucking creepy with a capital “C”.

  20. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 10, 2012 @ 12:09 pm the-oddist

    Couldn’t he in theory just teleported himself back in time an hour or two later? His Looper would have been gone by then and he could have disappeared into the night of the past…

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