While it was “Hotel Transylvania” ($43 million) that broke September’s Box Office record, the critically acclaimed “Looper” also managed a decent opening ($21.2 million) on a $30 million-production budget, while making its debut in 357 less theaters than “Transylvania.”
The time-traveling flick stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe in the futuristic world of 2044, where an economic collapse has left much of the world in poverty.
Joe, however, is not subject to the effects of the damaged economy. His riches are quickly stacking up as a result of his rare but lucrative job as a looper, in which he acts as an assassin for members of organized crime 30 years into the future, where time travel has been invented but outlawed.
Joe is one of the elite assassins sent back from 2074 to 2044, where, working under the mob, he kills anyone who poses a threat to organized crime, and disposes of their bodies in “the past,” thereby wiping the mob’s hands of any connection to the murder.
When the mob decides to further protect themselves by closing the “loop” on the Joe and his fellow loopers, Joe’s next target is one in which he isn’t so quick to pull the trigger: it’s himself, 30 years older.
Joe hesitates in consideration – either kill his older self, meaning he is only guaranteed 30 years to live, or let his future-self escape and potentially be killed by the mob much quicker.
Old Joe (Bruce Willis), takes advantage of Joe’s hesitation, and mounts an escape. Pursued by loopers and the mob, Old Joe has a plan of his own – kill the “Rainmaker,” – the ruthless leader of 2077 who is responsible for closing loops and limiting the lifespan of loopers.
It’s not an easy task for Old Joe though, as the “Rainmaker,” at this point, is a young boy.
Enter Cid, the son of farmer Sara (Emily Blunt), who is charted as one of the possible “Rainmakers,” and who has been born with extreme telekinesis abilities.
When Young Joe learns of Old Joe’s plan to kill Cid, he rushes to Cid’s aid, but in the meantime is stuck in a dilemma – if the “Rainmaker,” Cid will be responsible for his demise in the future. If not, Old Joe will be killing innocent blood.
The solution is one that is not easy to determine – and certainly what keeps the film interesting. There are several points of tension where no solution seems to be the correct one, and where viewers are torn on whom to root for, and that rising tension is capped off by a creative and unpredictable ending.
Though slowly paced at times, the film does what it needs to build the relationships and establish driving factors of each character, creating hurricane of conflicting missions that will keep viewers on the edge of their seat.
Also in the film’s favor is the quality acting of its leads and supporting cast, turning the somewhat far-fetched idea of time travel into a realistic and relatable plotline.
The combination of drama and action is well balanced, and Gordon-Levitt adapts well into his role of action junkie, while Willis resumes his gun-slinging abilities to perfection.
Give this one a try, but in doing so, it is important to pay close attention to the sometimes confusing twists that inevitably come with time travel stories.
Also, try not to focus too much on the fact it looks like Gordon-Levitt either had plastic surgery or finally hit puberty. No worries, they used prosthetics.