Thursday, 10 January 2013

Films Of 2012 - No. 7

Films Of 2012 - No. 7

Looper (Dir. Rian Johnson)

After the vastly over-rated Brick and the criminally underrated The Brothers Bloom, Rian Johnson returns with his 3rd film Looper about time travelling assassins.

Some years in the future, criminal organisations are using time travel to eliminate their enemies. These enemies are sent back in time where they are killed by a Looper, thus erasing them from the future. Joseph Gordon Levitt is Joe, a Looper who falters when he has to kill his future self (Bruce Willis).

As a premise, it is elegantly simple and riddled with potential complications. Johnson successfully avoids getting bogged down in the intricacies of time travel by not attempting to answer them. After establishing the story, time travel takes a back seat as the film asks questions about destiny and consequences. Not particularly original for a science fiction film I agree, but Johnson surrounds his story with compelling characters and setting. It reminded me of Drive in its production design, very familiar elements brought together in an original way.

With no source material or prequels to start with, Johnson successfully establishes the world that the Loopers inhabit with an opening act that, despite essentially being an introductory lesson, is consistently entertaining. The film’s second act is an effective thriller with both Joes being chased by each other as well as Jeff Daniels and his cronies who manage this time travelling business. The film’s final act sees Looper take its foot off the gas and morph into a more intimate character drama.

This final act showcases strong work from Levitt and Willis as well the ever excellent Emily Blunt and the astonishingly assured Pierce Gagnon as a child at the centre of the storm. The ending satisfies on a character and story level and ensures Looper stands out as one of the most entertaining and original films of the year.

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