In Looper's year 2074, time machines exist, but they're quickly outlawed. The only folks who still have access to them? Organized crime bosses, natch. And these bad boys have a very specific use for them. They enlist young men in the past (still our future 2044) for contract kills because apparently, in the future's future, it's next to impossible to dispose of a body. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one such a hit man, aka a looper. Bruce Willis also plays Joe, but he's "Old Joe," or the Joe 30 years older than JGL's Joe. Still with us? When a looper's time as a gun for hire is up, the much older gunman needs to be retired and the mob accomplishes this by thoughtfully sending back the older assassin to be whacked to "close the loop." And no surprise, when it's time for Old Joe to hang up his looper hat, he ain't having it. Looper is the best sci-fi film in years—it's taut, yet overflowing with ideas. The third feature from writer/director Rian Johnson also stars Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels. It's definitely a must-see, but better than that, you'll feel smarter after watching. Check out the five reasons we loved this imaginative flick:
1. JGL and Willis as the Same Person-Thing Totally Works: Yes, the thick eyebrows on JGL (to make him more Willis-like) are distracting at first. But what resonates is that even though two actors are playing one character they act very differently: One shoots first, never asking questions, while the other knows the answers and shoots way more. Yet we always believe we're watching one man. What we don't know (until the last moment) is which one will prevail.
2. The Flick Will Keep You Guessing Until the End: The best surprise in Looper is how many genuine I-didn't-see-that-coming moments there are. (Be sure to take care of your younger self or appendages might go missing!) Avoiding spoilers is preferable, but thankfully the whole experience doesn't depend on some M. Night Shyamalan-like twist. All those trailers and TV spots barely touch on the real meat of the story.
3. There's So Much More Here Than Just Retro Style: With a skinny hipster tie and a '50s diner, Looper could easily have been another forgettable one-note drag, but it's so much more than that. Early on, the dapper Young Joe gets the once-over by the head of the loopers department, Abe (Daniels), who tells him that in real life no one ever dressed and acted like that. So why not be original? Indeed. Director Johnson knows that snazzy outfits are great—especially with such handsome young actors wearing them—but that is simply not enough. He even ditches the grimy future cityscape look to focus on a farm. Since the script keeps reinventing itself, we're never bored. Now about that farm...
4. Emily Blunt on a Farm Is Way Cooler Than It Sounds: Far from just a pretty face (although she's certainly that) Blunt plays a shotgun-toting farmer with a small boy to protect. And she knows everything about the loopers. The boy in question (Pierce Gagnon) also surprises. To say more would be to spoil the fun, but we'll reveal this: That farm is about to get some rain.
5. The Time-Travel Stuff Is Mind-Bending Fun: Both smart and tricky, the script avoids the missteps that arise when dealing with events that may or may not happen in a normal timeline. Johnson eggs his audience on, pushing them forward to really think things through. One of the film's best feats of storytelling? The opening of a pocket watch means the worst outcome for Old Joe, a fate even worse than a blunderbuss blast. Pay close attention to that diner conversation between the two Joes.
Seen Looper yet? Do you love how fun this clever flick was? Or was it an epic fail? Sound off in the comments!