Looper (2012)

When I heard that newish director Rian Johnson was directing another film, this time a science fiction flick, with rising star Joseph Gordon Levitt,after collaborating on the under-seen Brick (2005), I knew the styling would be impressive. What I got was actually a little more contemplative than merely an exercise in ‘style over substance’. Sure, it looked mostly great, but the story was clever and interesting as well. In some respects, the story approaches Inception levels of ‘intelligent cool’ but lags just a little. Taking place in a dystopian 2047, the film follows JGLs ‘looper’ character Joe, basically a metaphysical hitman, as he works, parties and longs for escape. Being that he offs ‘contracts’ sent back from 30 years ahead, he is rather dismayed when his senior self pops into unscheduled existence right before his startled eyes. The ‘hit’ doesn’t go down…and the chase is on. Or at least that’s what the advertising campaign would have you believe. The film actually seg-ways cleverly in a direction I didn’t expect and worked very nicely because of it. Let me just say this: Fans of The Greatest Anime EVER, Akira (1988) will probably be entertained more than they initially expect to be. Some serious ‘props’ have to be given to the make-up crew on Looper…they did a seriously kick ass job of transforming JGL into a young Bruce Willis. It’s uncanny the amount of subtle (and not so subtle…the nose! ) Brucesms they managed to slap onto JGLs mug…being aided along by a very capable performance by JGL himself. It’s in the neighbourhood of ‘disconcerting’ when it comes to just how un’Joseph Gordon Levitt’ JGL is here. He looks NOTHING like what we’re used to. And The Performance? It’s no so much imitation as it is embodiment of the character at a different (and divergent) phase in his life. There is an effective ‘comic book’ vibe to the movie and several instances of surprising humor. Almost as a deliberate contrast to to the ‘dry’, physical comedy, the ample action is unexpectedly bloody and violent, with some creative and ballsy examples on display. If I had to drag out a complaint, I would have to say that the designs of some of the props bothered me a little, especially the cartoonishly-sized pistols brandished by a group of thugs known as The Gat Boys. It was a little more ‘silly’ than the film needed, with these men in black constantly whipping out these “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ handguns. Admittedly though, many of the details of the ‘universe’ lend to an embellishment like this. They just irked me, what can I say. But all in all, Looper was a Good Time At The Movies. Searching for a cleverly written, well filmed science fiction action film with a hefty dose of flying blood and unexpected laughs, in amongst decent actors giving generously to the material?…here ya go!

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