Frequent collaborators Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are at it again. This time, the pair tackles sci-fi with the timebending thriller, Looper. The film co-stars Bruce Willis as an older version of Gordon-Levitt’s character, giving the story an interesting twist. Looper treads the line of pure science fiction by blending elements from other sub-genres.

The Players:

  • Director: Rian Johnson
  • Screenwriter: Rian Johnson
  • Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Paul Dano,
  • Cinematography by: Steve Yedlin
  • Original Music by: Nathan Johnson

The Plot:

In 2044, a 20-something named Joe works for a mafia company based 30 years in the future. Where they live, time travel exists but has been outlawed. It’s illegally used to transport targets to the past, where Joe kills and disposes of their bodies. This is the job of a looper. When an unexpected assignment lands in his lap, Joe is faced with an ugly truth — himself.

The Good:

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Gordon-Levitt really prepared himself for this role. Even though Johnson created Joe with him in mind, Willis came on later in the process. Therefore, he had to observe and learn how to mimic the actor’s voice and mannerisms. In a way, Gordon-Levitt portrayed a character within a character, and he did it successfully.
  • Makeup: Where does the makeup end, and Gordon-Levitt’s face begin? That’s the question you’ll be asking yourself throughout this film. Unfortunately, you’ll never get an answer because the prosthetics are seamless. It’s attributed to the film’s talented makeup team.
  • Future Design: In sci-fi films, directors have a habit of creating futures that look like The Jetsons. Thankfully, we don’t have that problem here. Looper jumps ahead a few decades, but there’s no drastic difference between Young Joe and Old Joe’s time. There are small hints of advanced developments here and there, but nothing that makes it look implausible.
  • Gray characters: In Looper, there’s no such thing as an all good, or all bad character. Everyone has shades of gray. For example: Joe is an assassin, but he spends his free time studying French, and yearning for affection. It’s refreshing to have a protagonist who has just as many positives as he does negatives.

The So-So:

  • Genre-bending: This is a hot and cold issue. Some people will love it, while others might not. Looper is marketed as a time travel thriller, but it’s much more. There are some serious horror elements that mix gore and the supernatural. It could be seen as a pleasant surprise, or false advertising. It’s up to the viewer.


Looper’s an inventive take on the time travel trope. It has twists and turns that will stay with you long after the movie’s over.

The Rating: 9/10

Looper opens in theaters everywhere September 28.

Photo Gallery:


Will you be seeing Looper this weekend?