Movie Review: LOOPER

(l to r) Paul Dano, Joseph Gordon Levitt in “Looper”

Release date: September 28, 2012
Written and Directed by: Rian Johnson
Cast: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels
Rating: R; Running Time: 118 minutes

It’s official: Looper closes the loop on any doubt that writer/director Rian Johnson is one of the most fascinating filmmakers to appear on the doorstep of the 21st century.

After his mad mix of Southern California teens soaked in a hard boil of Dashiell Hammett in Brick, and his ever-plotting siblings bamboozling their way through an opulent Europe in The Brothers Bloom, Johnson’s latest feat is a sci-fi brew of tasty bits of this and that, all held together by a plot that keeps twisting away from the obvious at each new bend in the road. Dystopia today, time travel tomorrow, with seeds of Damien, Carrie, Sarah Connor and The Fifth Element, Johnson gives his three principals room to expand and grow into viable characters who maintain opposing agendas. It’s a tricky triangle, made complicated by two halves of the same person separated by thirty years. And we will ultimately find ourselves rooting for all three of them, hoping for an impossible hat trick.

If the thought of viewing the ubiquitous Joseph Gordon-Levitt in yet another film seems a bit taxing (from September 2011 to November 2012, he will have co-starred in five major motion pictures), hold that thought. Thanks to prosthetics and make up, Gordon-Levitt’s features have been scrambled and stretched, effecting a cross between a thuggie hipster and a younger version of Bruce Willis, right down to the nose, lips, eyes and furrowed brow. Heck, even his hair is receding. A jarring effect, it takes the better part of the first act to get used to Gordon-Levitt’s remodeled mug. Though not exactly impersonating his co-star, Gordon-Levitt incorporates some of the Willis’ verbal cadence, expressions and demeanor, albeit modified into the physicality of a younger man. When Gordon-Levitt ‘s Joe has his first tête-à-tête with Willis’ Old Joe in a diner – yes, two Joes meeting over a cup of Joe — it’s downright delicious. [FOR THE FULL REVIEW + RATING, PLEASE CLICK HERE]

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