Movie Review: Looper



Looper is a 2012 science fiction/action movie directed by Rian Johnson. When the film came out, I was entrigued by the plot and knew I wanted to see it. Fast-forward to 2015 and I had almost completely forgotten about the movie. I owned it but never got around to watching it. Then a friend informed me that a lot of it was shot very close to my hometown. Being a guy that is very interested in local history and happenings, I set aside a few hours and finally watched it. And it did not disappoint.

Looper stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as the younger and older versions of a character named Joe. He is a looper, an assassin that is hired by a criminal organization to kill people that are sent back into the past by time travel. The loopers are the only people to use time travel since it was outlawed quickly after being invented in the future. But the problem with being a looper is that sometimes you encounter your older self and still must kill the older version of you. This is called “closing the loop”.  And when Joe’s older self arrives in the past, the younger Joe hesitates and the older Joe manages to escape.

When word of this reaches Abe (Jeff Daniels), a criminal boss sent to carry out these executions, he sends his hitmen after Joe because not “closing the loop” is punishable by death. Even after young Joe promises to fix it and kill his older self, they still pursue him. Now young Joe must find old Joe to kill him and stop him from killing the Rainmaker, a kid that old Joe believes needs to be killed in order to save his wife’s life in the future.

So young Joe ends up at a house where he meets Sara (Emily Blunt) and her son Cid. The house is marked on a map and is one of three possible locations of the Rainmaker. Young Joe stays there to help protect Sara and Cid and kill old Joe when he arrives. The leads up to a great climax between both versions of Joe and Sara and Cid that will not only affect the present but the future as well.



One of the best parts about Looper is the phenomenal acting throughout the film. Gordon-Levitt is great in the role of young Joe and has become one of Hollywood’s best actors. His performances have been great and his role in this movie is no exception. He also went the extra mile in this film by wearing make-up to make him resemble Bruce Willis more. As for Willis, what can be said about one of the best actors around that hasn’t been said already. He was great in the role as the desperate old Joe who was trying to save the life that he knew.

The movie also featured Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano, and Piper Perabo. Blunt is terrific as the rough and rugged Sara, a single mom determined to protect her son. Jeff Daniels plays Abe, the ruthless crime boss that orders the loopers to do their jobs. Dano was good as young Seth, another looper who eventually pays the price for not “closing his loop”. And Piper Perabo plays Suzie, a stripper that young Joe visits and, similar to him, goes through the motions of her job without questioning it.

The movie is somewhat hard to follow at first if you aren’t playing full attention, but is still an amazing and original movie. I actually watched it twice and understood it all after the second viewing and didn’t get bored by watching it again so soon after. Rian Johson created a very entertaining movie with a fresh concept. The look of the movie is also amazing with the south Louisiana cane fields standing in for Kansas. The views, combined with the actors and the story, add another depth to the story that makes Looper a very entertaining film.

Daryl Karpinski Jr.