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Looper (5/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 116 minutes.

Not for children.

I generally like time warp movies. To give this one credit, it is ingenious, but entirely too cold-bloodedly violent. Written and directed by Rian Johnson it is set in Kansas in the year 2044. The idea is that time travel has been invented but it is illegal and only used by the mob. When the mob wants to get rid of someone they send that person 30 years into the past (to 2044) where a "Looper" dispatches him and dumps his body.

Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper who discovers that one of the people he is required to kill (Bruce Willis) is actually Joe himself (called letting the Loop run). This sends Joe's life into a tailspin, especially when Bruce lets him in on what happens and why he's there.

As I said, this is ingenious, one of the better crafted time warp stories I've seen. But recent movies paint the future as dark and depressing. There seems to be no joy in the future. Joe lives in a mechanized apartment that looks like a slum, even though he's well paid for what he does. Apparently modern film makers don't hold out much hope for the future.

The movie picks up when Emily Blunt appears. She's a mother who lives alone with her strange son on a farm surrounded by corn stalks. While Willis and Gordon-Levitt give fine performances, the one who really makes the movie come alive is Blunt.

Although like most films directed by the writer this runs far too long, there are some interesting dialogues, especially those between Joe now and Joe in the future. Paul Dano makes a short, but effective appearance as a looper who refuses to let his loop run. The creation of life in 2044, while bleak, does look futuristic but distinctly unappealing.