Let’s kick off this review by pointing out a bit of false advertising: After the halfway point, the movie has almost nothing to do with what you saw in the trailers. So if what you saw in the trailers is what got you hooked, prepare to be disappointed around forty minutes into the film. As far as the actual movie goes… it’s thought provoking, to say the least.
Joe, a Looper, kills people from the future for a living. He’s makin’ money and has all the women he wants, but things turn sour when his boss decides to close the loop. By closing the loop, Joe is contractually obligated to kill his future self, thereby allowing him 30 more years of life and then instant termination. Well, as the trailers show, Joe doesn’t exactly kill his future self, but instead gets beaten up by him and gets his car stolen. The film is pretty great during the opening fourty minutes that are centered around present Joe trying to hunt and kill future Joe while also on the run from his boss, but then things get weird. Joe discovers a farm, and mysterious crop circles take on a whole new meaning.
That’s as far as I’ll go for the plot, so as not to spoil anything, but I’ll say this much: The movie gets weird after the end of my brief summary. I mean, Looper as a movie does a good job explaining how its envisioning of the future would work, but the whole mythology just doesn’t really sit well with me. It gets pretty abstract and requires a LOT of thought power to process, and just when things start to make sense one of the characters does something just to make you confused again.
As far as the action goes, there’s relatively little of it. There are a few flashy sequences early on, and one at the very end, but otherwise it’s a story-driven movie. Almost all of the killing is restricted to a single-fire assassination, and that just doesn’t do the movie’s supposed “action” genre justice.
Although it’s not enough to save Looper, the acting is top-notch. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the gritty, emotionless killer that you expect him to be, and Bruce Willis is the bad-ass man with a mission that keeps this movie rolling. The knockout performance would have to be from Pierce Gagnon, a kid who probably isn’t in second grade yet. He just blew the figurative acting roof off, and outshined both JGL and Bruce Willis, which is no easy feat. As far as the femme fatale goes, Emily Blunt just doesn’t do much for me in Looper, surprisingly, which disappointed me after her great performance in The Adjustment Bureau.
Overall, Looper is one of those movies that you’ll have a different opinion on every day after seeing it. When you’re actually in the theatre, you’re thinking “jeez, I just spent ten bucks on this… crap…” but as you start to think about what the entire plot meant, you’ll warm up to the idea that Looper was a good movie. In conclusion, if you want a bad-ass JGL action flick, look to TDKR. If you want a meaty plot with lots of questions to chew on afterwards, check out Looper.