Sci-fi movies rarely surprise people these days. The big Hollywood studios won’t greenlight big-budget movies unless they know they’ll make money on them, which means we get tired plots recycled ad nauseum. They may draw in the crowds but this pattern leaves very little room for maneuver. Sci-fi flicks cost money, with the need for convoluted set designs and visual effects making indie hits in this genre a rare breed. But thankfully a great storyline can overcome any need to splash hundreds of millions of dollars on pleasing the eye. And Looper has a fantastic storyline.
The movie begins with the audience being informed that it’s 2042, a year in which loopers ply their trade. Loopers are hired assassins who kill people sent back from the future because by 2072, time travel has been invented and is used by criminal gangs. It’s a perfect system, as the person sent back through time is killed without trace, possibly even before they were born. When it’s time for a Looper to retire their older self gets sent back to be killed by their younger self, thus completing the loop. Except it doesn’t always go to plan.
To give any more of the plot away would ruin it. This is a film that twists and turns, playing with the audience’s expectations from beginning to end. Looper is a smidgen under two hours long, but packs a lot in to that time. Helping it along is a cracking script, brilliant performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, and Pierce Gagnon, and some classy directing from Rian Johnson.
Looper is undeniably great. It’s my favorite movie of 2012 so far, and that includes both cinema releases and DVD releases. There will be a minority who hate Looper, who cannot cope with sci-fi that makes you think instead of featuring talking robots and huge explosions, but the majority will be entertained for the duration. The plot isn’t even that hard to understand, so anyone who doesn’t get it should consider going back in time to off their parents before they conceive. Or perhaps that should be the sequel.