There’s a difficulty with “Looper” — the newest film from writer/director Rian Johnson — just as there’s a difficulty in the fallacy of time travel. It’s a messy and often convoluted difficulty, yet somehow, it works; both the science and the film.
“Looper” stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, the titular looper — a hitman in 2044 who carries out the deadly deeds for a futuristic mob of 30 years from now, in which time travel has been created.
Joe’s job consists of executing unknown offenders, sent back by the mob because futuristic technology has made it nearly impossible to successfully dispose of a body in the future. Though Joe’s world is turned upside-down when his latest hit turns out to be himself (played by Bruce Willis), 30 years from now, on a mission to find a child who’s destined to become a tyrannical mob boss known as The Rainmaker.
It’s messy and yet, like Johnson’s last Gordon-Levitt starring feature, 2005’s “Brick,” there’s a method and beauty to the mess. The film dabbles with the ultimate science fiction tool—time travel—and plays with it on unique levels. It also tackles the issue of what time travel means to the nature of things; i.e. the alternate realities you create and what happens when you ruin that cycle made out for life. Not to mention the subtler issues that start in the background then make their way into the foreground, like telekinesis and the cycle of troubled pasts found throughout different characters.
It’s a film that incites debate, from the plausibility of its depictions of time travel, to the timeline it sketches out. Additionally, it’s pretty gutsy for an action movie of this ilk to completely switch lanes and have its last act mostly take place on a farm managed by a gun-toting and hard-shelled Emily Blunt (along with her brilliant and disturbed child).
“Looper” is dark, violent, frightening and — surprisingly — really funny. But above all, it plays with your mind a little; leaving you unsure of what exactly happened.
People will argue about it —for both good and bad reasons— and different theories can be made about what took place. That’s the beauty of it. It’s a rough film to digest but it’s one that will leave you trying to piece together exactly what unfolds. Comparisons to similar sci-fi films are inevitable, but the first thing that pops to my mind when I watched it was “Inception.” Not because they’re that similar but because they both play with reality to a degree that leaves you unsure of whether or not you have the answers at all.
“Looper” opens today in theaters everywhere. Click here for theaters and showtimes.