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Looper

October 7, 2012

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Looper is a fantastic film. This is the type of movie where you are elated that you are watching something original. It feels like a unique vision by a man who has brought us nothing but unique visions. Looper feels devoid of studio interference because it was allowed to live or die on the strength of its director.  This is a creative story told from an important new filmmaker who is proving to be incredibly capable. It is an important addition to the new wave of intelligent science fiction.

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Rian Johnson is making himself known as a man with a versatile style. His films Brick, The Brothers Bloom and Looper have ranged from modern noir, cheeky heist and now science fiction. Johnson doesn’t quite reach the bar set by Duncan Jones (MoonSource Code) but he does create an interesting new world that is worth exploring. It is exciting to have young gun directors like Johnson, Jones, Gareth Edwards (Monsters) and Neill Blomkamp (District 9). They are directors out there who take original stories and create new classics.

I do not want to give away too much about this film. The basic story is that JGL is a hitman who kills men who are sent back in time via illegal time travel. The life is glamorous amidst  the poverty running rampant in future America. The problem is eventually all loopers have their loops closed and they have to kill the older versions of themselves. It is a short life full of murder, drugs and Piper Perabo.

When Bruce Willis appears as a younger JGL  the movie dives into several more layers of creativity. JGL decides not to kill him and the story takes twists and turns that lead to a conclusion that will instigate many nerdy conversations. This is a film that could have been nothing but complicated exposition and wonky logic. However, it forgoes the science and focuses on the story. I’m certain the story could be broken down but it never feels necessary because you enjoy the ride. It is nice watching Bruce Willis not sleepwalking through a role and Jeff Daniels in other places than the Newsroom. Emily Blunt is a welcome addition as a tough farm owner who is the mother of an interesting child.

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Looper is full of big ideas and wonderful performances. You may disagree with the ending but at least it is something you care about. The film is full of visionary shots and carefully crafted characters. Rian Johnson is emerging as a force in Hollywood and is doing it his way. I guarantee when you walk out of the theater your face will look like this.

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