4 out of 5
Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt in nifty prosthetics) is a looper, a hitman whose sole purpose is to kill people that are sent to him from mobsters of the future. The job is immediate and uncomplicated. He doesn’t know the reasons for killing the anonymous men with bags over their heads that appear before him, and he couldn’t care less. Joe shows disdain towards all types of responsibility and long-term commitments, which is why he agreed to let the future version of himself, Old Joe (Bruce Willis), get mercilessly killed. Killing himself is something he will have to face sooner than he imagined.
Joe spends his idle time ruining his health and well-being by leading his life in an amoral and meaningless way. He is nonplussed about the notion of killing the older version of himself because nothing he has is of consequence. However, Old Joe complicates matters when he escapes Joe’s grasp in order to fix the order of the future. An arch-villain from the future, the Rainmaker, has made it his mission to kill all loopers and Old Joe is determined to stop him. The inventive special effects and cutthroat pace are the film’s stand-out features. Director Rian Johnson’s trademark rich, distinctive dialogue is not very present; the character exchanges are muted and perfunctory.
Johnson made an interesting decision to dramatically change Looper’s tone at the halfway mark, transforming it from a dystopian sci-fi feature to an intimate moral drama of sorts. The two figures that are introduced in the latter half, the autonomous Sara (Emily Blunt) and her strange son Cid (Pierce Gagnon) enrich the proceedings. The over-arching theme of abandoned boys and the toll it takes on their destiny is an astute one, but comes off heavy-handed at times. However, the concept and execution of Looper is effortless, tackling the notion of freewill in an innovative way – taking both its pros and cons into consideration.