Looper is the perfect film to go and see in the theatre to celebrate the holiday season. It is a time-travelling, twisty thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, (one of the most promising up and comers in Hollywood) as the young Joe, a hired assassin who kills targets sent back from the future so that the body and the crime are essentially untraceable.
Sound complicated? You have no idea how much twistier the plot actually becomes and I will not attempt to explain the byzantine plot here. It is better to see and experience the film in real time with no particular pre-conceived notion so that you fully enjoy it.
Rian Johnson, the director, and Gordon-Levitt have collaborated before in Johnson's first feature film Brick (2005), another twisty noirish thriller that sealed Gordon-Levitt's reputation as an intense and very talented young actor. While Brick and The Brother's Bloom (2008) are both very watchable, they fall into the trap of being highly complicated, but perhaps lacking the little bit of heart that would have allowed them to transcend their genre. This is the usual pit-fall that awaits any young, dynamic, writer and director types like Rian Johnson.
I am happy to say though that he has not made the same mistake with Looper. With an excellent cast including, Bruce Willis (as the older Joe), Emily Blunt as a young mother protecting her disturbed but powerful child, Paul Dano as a nervous young assassin, Piper Perabo as a stripper with a heart of gold, and Jeff Daniels as the arch villain sent back in time, the film is able to carry its complicated plot with the help of the afore-mentioned cast, slick cinematography, and very real existential questions that leave you thinking.
It is rare that an action packed, slightly self-indulgent action thriller leaves you with questions and keeps the post movie debate alive and kicking.
The ending is shocking and unexpected, and afterwards you will find yourself asking, "Who exactly would I take a bullet for?"
While, hopefully, this is not a question anyone need follow through in the real world, it is important in the grand scheme of things. Is the love of a mother for her child enough to change his nature? Is that love more sacred than that between a man and a woman? Can one really alter the course of history with sacrifice? As one of my friends put it afterwards, "If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you?" Well, I can't answer that question, even for myself, yet I find its premise fascinating and very disturbing.
Watch Looper for thrills, a bit of mind-boggling time travel, crazy complications that will leave your mind slightly addled, great performances, and some heart-wrenching questions at the end of it all.
Looper is currently playing in theatres in Kathmandu.