Let’s be honest. It’s pretty rare for a Sci-Fi Action Thriller to be considered Oscar-worthy. I’m not talking effects, makeup, sound, etc. I’m talking acting and best picture noms. If I had my way there’d be a nerdy film up for best picture every year. But the Academy doesn’t seem to care about what I think. Pfft!
Looper could be that rare film. If it’s not nominated for Best Picture or at least a Best Actor nod for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, then there is a massive conspiracy mmmkay?
I’m going to try really hard not to spoil anything but if that’s a concern than you may want to stop here.
The year is 2044. 10% of the population is telekinetic. The drugs come in eye droppers and the guns look like toy NIB Space Blaster M72 rocket launchers.
Poverty is rampant and you have to be creative to get out of the slums. That, or get mentored by a crime boss from the future. You know, the usual. In the 2070’s time travel will be invented. But it’s illegal so only crime syndicates will use it. Which they do. By zapping people into the past to be shot and disposed of by “Loopers.”
That’s where Joseph Gordon-Levitt comes in. He’s a Looper named Joe and he’s got a plan for his future. Naturally, that means that everything is gonna go to shit. Confession time: I may have had a slight crush on JGL back in his Angels in the Outfield days. Seriously, how can you watch everyone flapping their arms and NOT get teary eyed? He’s only gotten better as he’s gotten older and this might just be his best work yet. He’s sporting his usual fitted dress shirt, skinny tie and slim slacks, a look he has probably patented by now which is ok by me cause he looks mighty fine in it. But something is different about him and it takes a minute to figure out exactly what it is. He’s been outfitted with makeup and prosthetics, most notably in the form of a nose piece, eyebrow pencil and a very nice shade of mauve lipstick. All this so that he can look more like his future self played by the always brilliant Bruce Willis.
I mean, honestly, the guy doesn’t even have to try. He’s got parts like this down to a science. There are few things in life that are better than watching Bruce Willis shoot bad guys with an automatic weapon and he doesn’t disappoint as Old Joe, a battle-hardened badass who won’t take no for an answer. He’s determined to kill the Rainmaker, the big bad mob boss of the future, while he or she is still a helpless, not yet completely horrific, kid. The emotions he goes through during this process are pretty gut wrenching. You keep expecting him to join forces with his younger self but it turns out he doesn’t know himself as well as he thinks he does.
Emily Blunt plays Sara, a hard working farm owner and mother of one of the potential Rainmakers. She’s dealing with fear, guilt, and confusion on a daily basis and really isn’t sure how to deal with it so she spends what little free time she has hacking at an old tree stump. One thing that is clear is her devotion to her son Cid. I think that Emily Blunt is gorgeous. Here she’s wearing grungy work clothes and almost no makeup and she’s drop dead sexy.
Cid is played by the astonishing Pierce Gagnon. OMFG this kid is AH-mazing. Utterly adorable and completely terrifying at the same time, he has a maturity that seems otherworldly in such a small child. I hesitate to say anything more because you should really see his performance for yourself. I promise you’ll be blown away.
Other people worth noting: Paul Dano as Seth, Joe’s BFF and the guy who first gets Joe in trouble. Noah Segan as Kid Blue, the henchman who just won’t die. Piper Perabo as Suzie, Joe’s sort of girlfriend. If you’ve ever wanted to see Piper naked, then here’s your chance. Garret Dillahunt (aka the Grandpa from Raising Hope) as Jesse, a former coworker of Joe’s with one of the coolest parts in the film. And Jeff Daniels as Abe, that crime boss from the future that I mentioned earlier.
Looper was written and directed by Rian Johnson, a dude I’ve never heard of but who I will be looking out for from now on. I sincerely hope that he’s not a one-trick pony a la M. Night Shyamalan cause I’m seriously impressed by this movie. It’s definitely going down as one of my favorites for the year.
5 out of 5 Sci-Fives!