Looper (2012) - Rian Johnson

Ocena recenzenta: 7/10

I was a big fan of Brick, Johnson's first feature film in 2005, a neo-noir set in an American High School setting. A slick, clever little film that understood the genre it was paying homage to with it's staccato beats in the action and speech. And it was one of his first collaborations with Gordon-Levitt. Both of them are back, this time the genre is scifi and the twist is time travel and 'looping'.

Gordon-Levitt is a Hitman or 'Looper' in the year 2044 with a twist - he executes people sent back in time to him from the year 2074. That's right time travel, one of the most powerful scientific concepts ever, is used as a type of waste disposal. Apparently in the future, future it's really hard to kill people. Anyway the catch to his job is that to close all loose ends one of the people sent back is the future version of the Looper. Hence when they kill that person (their future self) they close the 'Loop'. Naturally Levitt encounters his future self (played by Bruce Willis) and things quickly get FUBAR. And that is all I'll say on the plot. It's a film that I would say you should go in knowing as little as possible about it.

It doesn't feel like an overly original film; there are elements that seem straight from other films such as 12 Monkeys, Terminator, Source Code and even some Children of the Corn and Omen stuff in there. However it's all put together so slickly by Johnson that it doesn't matter that it's an amalgamation of previous, and in some case superior films, it is an interesting, fast paced, fun ride. It perhaps lacks that little something; the imagination of for example Gilliam's film or the streamlined sustained terror/tension of the first Terminator or a more in-depth exploration of the themes it touches upon to really elevate it into being an excellent film. It never really goes too deep into the concepts it touches upon, instead it feel relatively straight forward. The mechanics of the time travel involved is more Back-To-The-Future than Primer in it's complexity; it's not an integral concept in the film, instead it's used to illustrate other themes such as self determination, nature vs nurture, selflessness, greed and some other ethical issues. Johnson even has one of the characters literally say to another not to think about the time travel since it would just give you a migraine and while I could have done without that piece of dialogue I'm happy enough to treat the time-travel as making a kind of sense in the world Johnson has created.

Levitt is very good lead, a mix of makeup/effects and good old fashioned acting was convincing enough to portray a slighter younger version of Willis' character; there's the squinty eye, the clenched jaw, the slurring of certain words - Levitt is admirably thorough here. Willis....well he plays pretty much the same character he always plays nowadays, the gruff world-weary tough guy. The lovely Emily Blunt also puts in a fine performance in what could have been a thankless role and Pierce Gagnon as Cid was very good in a potentially tricky role. The script barrels along, with some sharp dialogue with a few plot strands that could have been excised - Paul Dano's for instance, felt redundant in a way considering how the film unfolded. The film is executed with precision and style and there's nothing to point to and criticise too strongly.

With a relatively small budget of $30 million a pretty convincing 'near-future' world is created. Amusingly enough everyone seems to be driving either old fashioned sports cars or banged up old pick-up trucks. It's thankfully not gone for the easy Bladerunner/Japanese-forever-raining future that is sigh-inducing but a mix of an undercurrent of grime to a landscape that almost looks like now and the trippy/bright light party of the rich people that works pretty well. There are a few special effects that look a bit cheap but mostly Johnson manages to film scenes in a way to minimise use of effects. Overall it's a film I quite liked, one that combines a mix of genres and styles successfully.