Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA/China, 2012. Endgame Entertainment, DMG Entertainment, FilmDistrict, Ram Bergman Productions. Screenplay by Rian Johnson. Cinematography by Steve Yedlin. Produced by Ram Bergman, James D. Stern. Music by Nathan Johnson. Production Design by Ed Verreaux. Costume Design by Sharen Davis. Film Editing by Bob Ducsay. Dorian Awards 2012. Las Vegas Film Critics Awards 2012. National Board of Review Awards 2012. North Carolina Film Critics Awards 2012. Online Film Critics Awards 2012. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2012. Toronto International Film Festival 2012.
Near the end of the twentieth century, hit men known as “loopers” are hired by mobsters from the future to kill the men they send back in time. As one of these employees, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a hired gun who stands in a cornfield at the same time every day, waiting for his target to suddenly appear and take a bullet, dressed in a burlap sack and containing our protagonist’s payment on his person. Sometimes the aged versions of these very goons are sent back in time as well, carrying with them a payload that the looper can use to enjoy their remaining decades before their number is up, but something is starting to go awry in the system: more and more older versions of loopers are being sent back to be finished off, thanks to a new mob boss in the future who is reportedly the end name in corruption. Gordon-Levitt finds himself off the beaten track when an older version of himself (Bruce Willis) appears and announces his desire to change destiny by finding the future villain as a child and killing him; Gordon-Levitt isn’t convinced by the story, not to mention that Willis is his assigned target and he never lets one get away. This is a clever, highly imaginative film that grips you from the word go and never loses its hold on your attention: the story veers in new directions and yet feels concise and controlled thanks to superb direction by Rian Johnson and outstanding performances from the entire cast, including Gordon-Levitt (complete with prosthetic nose and impressively subtle accent to be more believable as a young Willis) and Emily Blunt as the intended murder victim’s mother. It’s the best time-travel movie to come out in a very long time.