Movie Review: LOOPER (2012) – An Impressive Addition To Time Travel Movies

Published by Shah Shahid on

Rian Johnson keeps making headlines with only 3 feature films under his belt, and for good reason. While the BROTHERS BLOOM put a uniquely quirky twist on the typical con movie, LOOPER turns heads with its innovative reimagining of the already over saturated genre of time travel movies. It’s a must watch for any sci-fi junky.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Blunderbuses

LOOPER is all about a ring of crude assassins, who essentially murder people from the future. Time Travel is invented, and as with any new invention, criminal enterprises start using it to make disappear the people they want dead. Since discarding bodies in the future is traceable, those liabilities are sent to the past, where Loopers pull the trigger and get rid of the bodies. It’s a fool proof process. The assassins aren’t highly trained or deadly or even that dangerous, they’re just petty criminals, kids even, whose only skill is pulling a trigger when the future person pops into their line of sight, tied and ready to be slaughtered. Simple really.

Complications arise when a smarter than usual and more self aware Looper named Joe, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, fails to kill his future self when he arrives in the past. This results in the old Joe, played by Bruce Willis, running around trying to kill the people responsible for ruining his future and sending him back to the past, while young Joe tries to stop, otherwise his crime boss will make him pay for not doing his job. The simplicity ends. It’s a classic hypothetical scenario that we sometimes wonder: what would we do if we could pass the wisdom we have when we’re older, onto our younger selves? LOOPER answers this by having young Joe stop his future self, from ruining what he perceives to be his future. Although old Joe himself is motivated by love. In the future, his love is killed, and he comes back to the past to right that wrong.


Despite being a Time Travel movie, LOOPER is more a giant metaphor for the uncertainty of one’s future. Young Joe is faced with his future, but resists it because of how he wants it to be, despite being told otherwise. The entire film is him coming to terms with this, and looking beyond himself. Ironically enough, Joe comes to his own conclusions about life, and matures, due to the morally ambigious actions of his older self. It’s a great concept that goes beyond the sci-fi genre of Time Travel. Sure, Director Rian Johnson takes many liberties with what we know of Time Travel facts, based on other films. But LOOPER has to be experienced without comparing the physics of this plot device to other works, but accepting the premise and concept as set out within this film.

Despite the misleading trailers, LOOPER is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s movie. Despite Bruce Willis’ imposing presence, the film relies on the shoulder of JGL’s character and performance, and he delivers in spades. The actor not only has to bring awareness and maturity into a character that’s selfish and lost… but he has to do all this while pretending to be a younger version of Bruce Willis. Some prosthetics to achieve this, but the actor himself is who must be credited with his portrayal. Throughout the film, I’m surprised at how Gordon-Levitt’s mannerisms, reactions and way of speech is exactly like the Bruce Willlis we all know and love. Bruce Willis plays an old man, who was redeemed from his murderious ways after finding love. The death of whom, sends him on a morally questionable rampage in the past, to protect his future, while trampling over his own past. It’s a role that  borders on villainous, but the depth that Willis brings to it, makes him a tragic villain to say the least.


Emily Blunt is also in this, in what is really a small role. She’s present near the end, and, along with her character’s son, acts as the innocents that change Young Joe’s perspective on good and evil. LOOPER becomes a really innovative movie, once one stops attempting to compare the Time Travel concept to other films and works, and takes the film’s story at face value, binding ourselves to these characters in this story, which is really a science fiction of a discovery of self… literally.

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Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


Nostra · June 25, 2014 at 9:33 AM

It was a cool movie, although I never was exactly crazy about it. JGL does a great job though.

    Shah Shahid · June 25, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    I agree completely. It was an entertaining film, but doesn’t hold up under scrutiny too well. I enjoyed.

    JGL was the highlight though.

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