Looper (2012) +Commentary Review
You may be wondering why this review is coming so late after the release. And the reason is because I wanted to wait until I saw it twice. That’s right, twice. Why did I want to see it twice? It’s because Rian Johnson released an audio track of his commentary. I love that he did this. It adds a whole new spectrum to watching films in a theater. Sure, I had to pay to see it twice, but with this one, it was worth it.
The concept of the commentary track is that you download it and play it through an MP3 player or smartphone while you’re in the theater watching the film on the big screen. It completely changes the experience, and watching the commentary in the theater verses at home really makes it pop. Joe Marine from NoFilmSchool.com has a great write-up (nofilmschool.com) about the commentary and how it may affect the industry.
Now to the actual review:
How was Looper? It was awesome. I haven’t seen an original sci-fi film come out in the last few years that even comes close to this. The story is awesome, the cast is unbelievable, and the effects are top-notch. Time to break it down.
The basic concept of Looper is that time travel has been invented in the future and the mafia now sends people back in time to be eliminated. One of the assassins has to kill his future self, but fails, and has to fix his failure. Over the course of the film, he figures out where allegiances lie, he befriends a single mother, and eventually… WAIT! No spoilers, I promise!
Time travel in itself isn’t a new concept. But the idea of the mob controlling and using time travel to send people back in time to be knocked off is a fresh twist. The rest of the story reads like a great sci-fi book. In class, we’ve been talking about a lot about genres. We’ve been redefining genres of films, and some of my favorite sci-fi’s are being called other genres. Looper one hundred percent falls into the sci-fi category. This will easily become one of the all time classic sci-fi films.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (imdb.com), Bruce Willis (imdb.com), Emily Blunt (imdb.com), Jeff Daniels (imdb.com). Um, yes please! Killer cast. JGL is hands down one of my favorite actors. He’s really gotten popular over the last few years, and for that I’m glad. His performance in Looper was phenomenal. I believed that he was a drug addicted, future assassin that tries to do right by everyone. Bruce Willis is… well, he’s Bruce Willis. Even at 57, he’s still kicking ass.
I’m usually not a fan of Emily Blunt. Her performances usually feel flat, and she never shows any facial expressions. But, she really pushed herself as “Sara.” Then there’s Jeff Daniels. Let’s dissect his career a little, shall we? Arachnophobia, Dumb and Dumber, Gettysburg, Space Chimps… to say that he’s a versatile actor is an understatement. And he doesn’t fail to deliver that versatility to Looper. His experience as an actor shows as “Abe.”
The four lead an ensemble cast that just blows the audience away. Noah Segan (imdb.com), who Johnson and JGL have worked with previously on Brick (2005)(imdb.com) is one of the supporting actors that adds in all the little flavors that make this film pop as a whole. The acting here is superb.
Does Joseph Gordon-Levitt look anything Like Bruce Willis? No. Do they look the same in Looper? Yes! The makeup job they did on JGL to make him look like Bruce Willis is mind-blowing. You can still tell that it’s Joseph, but at the same time he looks like Bruce Willis would if he were thirty years younger. All the other effects are typical of the genre. There’s futuristic technology, there’s a fall from a 2nd story balcony that smashes a car, and there are guns… lots and lots of guns. Non of which are awe-inspiring individually; but, they’re used together in a way that really helps sell the story. Without each individual stunt, visual effect, and design choice Looper very well have fallen flat.
So what’s the verdict? 8.25/10. But, as a fan-boy, I give it a 10. Stellar casting decisions and subtle nuances that make this an instant sci-fi classic push the score higher. It also has the added bonus of the commentary track that got them an extra $10 out of me. There are a lot of innovations in Looper that I’ve been missing in recent original sci-fi films. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should. It’s definitely worth the money.
Check out the trailer if you have no idea what I’m talking about: