Impressive time-travel tale from Brick director Rian Johnson, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
After his impressive debut Brick and his mildly disappointing follow-up, The Brothers Bloom, Rian Johnson’s time-travel tale Looper feels like a giant leap forwards. Warmly embracing elements of sci-fi, horror and romance, in a story inspired equally by Peter Weir’s Witness as it is James Cameron’s The Terminator, it’s a marvellous antidote to the stale summer blockbusters (yes, Men In Black 3, we mean you) so often foisted upon us.
The premise is gilt-edged. Set in 2047, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a mob-hired assassin whose targets are sent back to him from thirty years into the future – at a point when time-travel has been invented. His job is simply to shoot, kill and dispose – but things take a deadly turn when he realises his latest hit is his future self (Bruce Willis), who manages to evade death-by-blunderbuss (Joe’s preferred weapon-of-choice, oddly) and escape.
This gives just the barest outline of what is a tremendously intricate plot, one that sees young Joe hole up in a farmhouse run by single mother Sara (Emily Blunt) as he attempts to track down his older self. What impresses, aside from just how rigorous Johnson has been with the logic of it all, is the manner in which he creates his world. Rather than saturate the screen with digital effects he uses CG subtly and sparingly.
Reuniting with Johnson after Brick, Gordon-Levitt leads the line impressively, while Willis offers up one of his more restrained performances (until a quite glorious action scene towards the end when he finally gets his hands on some hardware). The support is equally fine – Jeff Daniels as Joe’s mob mentor, Paul Dano as his careless friend – but really the outstanding performer here is Rian Johnson. A genre-blending, time-bending morality tale, Johnson’s bravado will leave you breathless.
General release from Fri 28 Sep.