REVIEW: Looper

Looper is a twisty sci-fi thriller, with wacky time travel and solid action scenes.  The first half is superb, building the tension, drawing us into this strange world of murderous pursuits through time.  It sets up the rules of time travel quickly and efficiently, whilst kick-starting a romping plot.  Then the second half begins and everything…clunks…to…a…halt.  You know Drive?  Remember the long chunks where nothing happened?  If that’d been inserted into Crank, halfway through, you’d get an idea about the pacing issues.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the film; the action scenes are solidly put together; there’s a visceral feeling to the brutality and action, which it is so much more satisfying than a CGI shit-fest like The Matrix Reloaded.  I just wish the second half had either maintained the pace and fervour of the first half, or ramped it up further.

In the dystopian future of 2032, and time-travel hasn’t been invented, but it will be in 2072.  ‘72 gangsters get away with murder by sending their victims back in time to be killed and disposed of by ‘32 hitmen, called ‘Loopers’.  These loopers are excellently paid, but agree to be executed themselves in the future, so the organization is untouchable by law enforcement.  They also have to kill their own future selves.  Obviously, this could lead to problems, which it does almost immediately for one particular Looper, Joe (played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Old Joe by, Bruce Willis).  The time-travel rules are a little different to what I was expecting – mostly following Back to the Future rules which makes for some wackiness.  Any paradoxes didn’t bother me throughout the course of the film, so I don’t think there’s anything there to get too hung up about.

If I’d had no expectations, then I’d probably have been less frustrated by the second half, but the first half has such promise that it’s difficult not to feel let down.  I have a suspicion that the filmmakers ran out of money halfway through.  Anyway, I wanted madness and time travel insanity to prevail and the plot twisted in and upon itself, but this was unfulfilled.  Anyway, enough bitching.  Actually, one last piece of bitching; JGL’s Bruce Willis make-up is really goddamn distracting.  There is a lot that’s very good about the film, the action is really well done, the futuristic settings (both 2042and 2072) are interesting.  The stylized, slick life of the Loopers and there clubs is nicely done as are all the weapons are futuristic vehicles.  I’m a complete sucker for gritty sci-fi. Children of Men is one of my favourites.

There are details that make the world feel legitimate, rather than many futuristic vehicles, the majority of cars are some kind of conversion engine.  There is an over-stylisation to some characters, but this works within the film.  I really hope that this gives the director, Rian Johnson enough Hollywood points to keep making interesting films and that people will check out his first film Brick, because it kicks ass.  I’d certainly recommend Looper, although you could certainly catch it on DVD in three months rather than in the cinema.





  1. Good review Court. The cast is great, especially JGL who has been having a stellar career so far, but the plot it what really kept me interested as it continued to throw twist-after-twist at me, without any confusion whatsoever. It’s a great sci-fi flick that actually makes sense.

    • Cheers, man. The whole podcast crew should have seen it when we record so I think we’ll probably have some spoilerific discussion nerding out about it to excessive details. That’ll probably be released tomorrow morning if you want to hear us ramble.

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