Being one of two genres that are jackpots of numerous remakes, prequels and sequels, the world of science-fiction is severely lacking in entirely original concepts with intelligent stories and characters. We have seen the odd one original, sci-fi hit throughout recent years, such as Christopher Nolan’s Inception and Duncan Jones’s Source Code. Now we have been provided with Looper, written and directed Rain Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom). Viewers may go into Looper believing that it is another sci-fi with complex dialogue and badass characters in a dystopian setting. Although it is exactly that and contains one or two similarities with Blade Runner and 12 Monkeys, Rain Johnson’s Looper is a marvelous, creative homage to the science-fiction genre.
What we have with Looper is basically concepts of time-travel and telekinetic powers in a world of a specific authority. Many of these methods have been used many times in crime and other science-fiction films but Johnson’s creativity in plot and screenplay s sublime. In a marvelous move, he transforms a film that initially seems to have a complex, science-fiction story into a feature with a genuinely creative, original and at times, rather simple story. In that sense, Johnson’s work on Looper felt loosely connected to the great Christopher Nolan. Also, Looper is staged in the future but the majority of the film is about the past. Therefore, Johnson expresses how the current day and the future. Furthermore, he provides a story that is science-fiction today but with technology advancing rapidly, it could be our future. However, the only issue with Looper was that it became two films merged into one, story-wise. For the first half, it became about Joe, his career as a Looper and what mistake he made and the second became all about a young woman and a little boy with telekinetic powers. It was a very enjoyable second part but that sub-plot could have been a sequel idea.
Following roles in Rian Johnson’s debut feature Brick as well as (500) Days Of Summer, Inception, 50/50 and The Dark Knight Rises, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has now become a popular Hollywood star. Looper becomes another addition to his successful young career as he takes on the role of younger Joe. In this film, we witness a side to Gordon-Levitt that we have been waiting to see for a long time. Following his sidekick supporting roles of powerful characters in the past, he finally comes out of his shell and becomes a badass actor in his own right. Further to that, Gordon-Levitt has really matured as a grown-up actor now which is what we see in Looper and will hopefully see in other future projects. However, he is not the only protagonist of the film, let alone the only performer of the same character.
In the role of older Joe was Bruce Willis who once again does not run out of steam from his status as a symbol of the action genre. Although he was not introduced until about 30 minutes, we follow his journey as much as younger Joe’s. Together, Gordon-Levitt and Willis perform as a character which expresses two sides to somebody. Although we see young Joe as heroic and brave, we see older Joe with more psychological issues. Therefore, audiences see a new dark side to Willis where in his role as elder Joe but he is still the great action star that he has always been. Meanwhile, Emily Blunt is the innocent and rather normal addition into the cast as Sara, a single parent protecting her child and her land, with a solid performance. Finally, Jeff Daniels makes an appearance as Abe, Joe’s boss. In this role, Daniels is expressed as a dominant, powerful figure, which we really do not see very often seeing as he is famed for his appearances in comedies.
With the science-fiction genre expanding on remakes, sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Looper is a rare science-fiction film that is a symbol of creativity and intelligence that doesn’t appear round the corner anymore. People could misunderstand Looper for being a traditional time-traveling film but it is a film that shows the audience how it came about and how characters deal with it. The entire film could have been split into two parts but despite this, it still works. Nevertheless, if Rain Johnson became a more regular and recognized film director, which he should be now after Looper; he could eventually become a highly respected and influential director. Chris Nolan now has a competitor following his trail.