Here is a low budget sci-fi film with an interesting premise, but doesn’t get gimmicky about it, and instead focuses on developing the characters. The result is an immensely entertaining and interesting sci-fi film with a heart.
The dashing Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis star, as the same character but differ thirty years in age. The character, Joe, is a Looper, an assassin that kills people sent back in time by gangsters in the future who wants to get rid of someone without a trace of evidence. The actors play unique versions of Joe; distinctly different yet retaining a connection that establishes a relationship between the hot-head young version and the weary, experienced older version.
The first act of the film proceeds to unabashedly explain the mechanics and science part of the film, per Joe’s narration. I appreciate that they did that, because a serious error that many sci-fi thrillers tend to commit is trying to explain the science amidst the storytelling, this often confuses the audience with too much information. By getting all the explaining out of the way early on, director Rian Johnson is able to focus on developing the characters for the rest of the film, and this was the key to “Looper”‘s success.
Despite being character-driven, the film nevertheless retains the cool science that serves as the backbone of the film. This gave way to a brilliant ending that is both thought-provoking and satisfying. And because of the good job Johnson’s done with the characters, I found myself caring about them, and trying to figure out the meaning of the ending. There are have been many films where they run out of steam in the third act and the audience feels detached and stop caring about the characters, that wasn’t the case in “Looper.”
I would also give special props to Emily Blunt. She provides such an emotional force in the recent two films that I’ve seen her, this film and “The Adjustment Bureau”. In both films, she plays likable characters effortlessly; she is a humanizing presence whom when struck by love, is completely believable and engaging.
“Looper” isn’t a loud, guns-blazing sci-fi epic like “Inception;” it is the quiet type that takes us through a journey where worlds previously separated by time collide. Its intriguing premise and strong character development makes this worthy film to check out.