Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 29 September 2012
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Looper | Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Jeff Daniels, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano | Review
Like the name implies, a looper has something to do with a loop – of time.
They are hitmen sent 30 years into the past (2044) waiting in deserted fields and abandoned warehouses for their victims with a powerful bazooka-like blunderbuss. The victim is hooded, bound and kneeling, and has literally one second of life before he’s knocked backward and killed instantly by the sheer force of the weapon’s discharge.
Loopers are paid in the silver bars that are attached to their victims’ bodies. An incinerator takes care of the evidence. When the looper’s victims are their own future versions from 30 years hence, the payment is in gold bars. That’s called closing the loop, and it is how a looper knows that his years are numbered.
Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a looper, in it for the easy money. Time travel is an illegal future commodity controlled by organized crime. Society has become a series of ragged, garbage-strewn, graffiti-filled industrial centers, interspersed with deserted highways and old farmhouses. Hover-cycles illustrate that yes, we really are in the future (even though it’s 30 years in the past to the loopers). Just as many gas-powered cars and trucks roll through the dirty streets.
TK, or telekinesis is a skill that some of population possess, allowing them to move objects with their minds. It seems to be a man’s world, where seedy nightlight revolves around strip clubs and liquid opiates taken through an eye dropper. Life is stark and sordid, but the silver keeps piling up.
Joe’s friend Seth (Paul Dano) serves as a cautionary tale to the young looper when he is assigned to exterminate his older version, but allows the hit to escape. Looper boss Abe (Jeff Daniels) all the way from the future, but acting as an on-site enforcer, ensures that Seth pays a horrible price that manifests itself in his aged body.
When Joe meets his older self (Bruce Willis) for a blunderbuss rendezvous in the field, the unexpected happens that leads to events splitting down two different time tracks. They split even further as the film progresses, making plot developments something to discover rather than predict.
Old Joe and Young Joe are at odds with each other; they ARE each other, but each has a separate agenda that becomes fused together the closer they get to Cid (Pierce Gagnon) a five year-old boy that both Joes hunt for different reasons (no spoilers here). Sara (Emily Blunt) is the boy’s mother and protector. The Cid interlude takes the film into any entirely new direction. This one you watch with no bathroom breaks if you can help it.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt sports a prosthetic nose to make him resemble Bruce Willis, but seems to channel the look and intensity of a young Robert DeNiro instead. Bruce Willis can still hoist himself around an action flick with deadly ease. Jeff Daniels looks tired but evokes a dangerous nonchalance. Emily Blunt is appealing with an American accent and a rifle. Child actor Pierce Gagnon emits big rage from a little body.
Director Rian Johnson (Brick) helms an intelligent, multi-layered story that never dumbs down its exposition. It simply expects the viewer to keep up with the concept, including them so to speak, in the loop.
These days, that’s almost a science fiction in itself.