Note: This review will be spoiler-free. Please keep it that way in the comments.
Filmdrunk already has a review/rave up for Looper and has for a while now, and suffice to say, everything written there is 100% true and correct.
But, approaching it from a science fiction fan’s perspective, Looper is that movie that is all too rare: A genuine, straight up, science fiction movie, a movie that takes a concept like time travel and explores its meaning.
That it happens to be superb as a film is just icing on the cake.
Rian Johnson has been working in indie movies for a while, riffing on genres. Brick crosses the high school drama with the noir, and while there are a few points of strain, the movie itself is undeniably great. The Brothers Bloom is both a hilarious caper movie and a meditation on scams and storytelling.
Looper, though, is his best movie yet, and it’s essentially a movie about regret.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a hitman sent back in time. When the mob has somebody they need to get rid of, they literally send the guy into the past, where Levitt is waiting with a shotgun. He pulls the trigger, collects the fee taped to the corpse, and lives large. It’s tinged, though, with the understanding that someday, he’s going to kill a guy and it’s going to be his future self.
Unfortunately, since he ages to become Bruce Willis, his future self has other plans.
That’s as far as I’m going with the plot because you need to go in cold. Seriously, avoid spoilers and just go see it.
What really makes it work is how carefully Rian Johnson has constructed his world. Our anti-hero gets paid in precious metals, not cash, for example. There’s also little winks to SF movies all throughout that are easy to miss but pop into focus when you think about them. Like, for example, that all the targets are literally sent to a cornfield.
He also has a great facility with action scenes and humor. Looper never forgets it’s also a movie about two hitmen stalking each other, and it’s pretty innovative in its action, as well.
In short, Looper isn’t just everything we love about a good science fiction movie. In a lot of ways, it’s everything we love about movies, period.
Go see it. It’s worth every minute.