There are a lot of words thrown around to describe movies, lots of genres to define them.
Looper fits into the category of genre-bending, if there is one. It is, of course, heave on sci-fi with its elements of time travel and telekenesis. But it is also a deeply personal story about a man’s journey to make things right, to change the life of one person, one family, examining how his actions can change the course of history.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as that man, Joe, a hired assassin, or Looper, for the mob … the mob of the future (that’s where the time travel is involved – nothing overly complicated about it). Bruce Willis plays the older version of Joe, a man on a mission of his own when he’s sent back to be killed.
What culminates is a mind-blowing movie experience (there’s one of those descriptives…and now more), a stunning and provocative example of creative storytelling from the mind of Rian Johnson, the writer and director of previous indie titles Brick and The Brothers Bloom. With Looper, Johnson takes his directing chops to an entirely new level, delivering a stylishly gritty drama with incredibly interesting characters who take the story in fascinating places.
In its first weekend, Looper scored a second place win at the box office, taking in $20.8 million, a respectable haul for an R-rated drama. And with a 90%+ score on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s one of the year’s best reviewed movies, adding to its awards potential, which is not out of the question, especially for screenplay and acting, especially for Emily Blunt as a tough-as-nails single mother and owner of a farm in a tough predicament.
Johnson and Gordon-Levitt spoke with me about audiences, sci-fi, the movie’s tragic, Shakespeare-esque qualities, and Blunt’s performance, who has high praise for what is arguably her most intense role to date in her interview with Jake Hamilton.
Looper is in theaters everywhere and runs 118 minutes.