Looper ***1/2

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Rian Johnson’s “Looper” is a truly mind bending thriller. Looper’s are specialized assassins who meet their targets in remote locations then gun them down and dispose of the bodies. Their target is sent back in time by the mob where the body is destroyed in another time. It is the perfect cover. The only clause in a Looper’s contract is that eventually his future self will be sent back in time to be killed by himself. This is called closing the loop.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a Looper. Looper’s get paid very well as is evident in Joe’s lavish life style. He lives in a future that is pretty bleak. Homelessness has over run the streets, drugs are rampant, and criminals seem to run everything. One night his closest friend drops in out of the blue. He is on the run as his latest victim was himself and he hesitated. This leads to a tense scene where Joe is confronted by his boss played by Jeff Daniels. He can either give up his savings of silver or give up his friend.

Eventually Joe is confronted by his own future self but oddly he appears without a hood and played by Bruce Willis. He too hesitates which results in his future self escaping. Joe then finds himself on the run from the mob as a result.

Eventually Joe finds himself holding up on a rural farm with a single mother and her son. She is played by Emily Blunt. Her son factors in to the plot as well but I won’t say more as there are plenty of ingenious surprises in this movie.

Movies this good are becoming a rarity. The last truly original action movie I saw was “Drive” and that was almost a year ago exactly. This movie needs to do better at the box office or else it could become a thing of the past. Everything is going the way of franchises which could end up ruining the industry.

“Looper” was directed by Rian Johnson, who seems to be putting together a mixed resume. His first film “Brick” was a mystery noir set in a high school and his second feature was “The Brothers Bloom”, about con men. “Looper” is an original sci-fi. His emphasis on characters performances is his strongest point. There are some action and CGI effects but he doesn’t rely on it. He uses them as tools to tell a complex story.

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