SYNOPSIS: Thirty years in the future time travel is illegal. The only people who use it are criminal organizations who send undesirables back to the past to be disposed of. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an experienced looper—or present day trigger-man—slowly stashing his pay so one day he can retire and live in France. He doesn’t count on a crime lord from the future, the Rainmaker, ordering his loop be closed. That is sending his future self, Old Joe (Bruce Willis), to present day to be executed. When Joe hesitates Old Joe gets away and sets in motion a chase to determine the fate of not just one, but both Joes.
Richard: 4 ½ Stars
Ned: 5 Stars
Richard: Ned, the actors aren’t the stars of the movie, the ideas are. Is it airtight? Nope, but that time travel movie is? Future crime bosses could have done the killing themselves and sent the bodies back to be disposed of, but where’s the fun in that? We need the two Joes in one place to get the story revved. It’s what happens after that is interesting. Did you buy into to the story?
Ned: I totally bought into the story, thanks in large part to how it’s told. Having been a huge fan of Rian Johnson’s first film, Brick, I realize I’m more than a little predisposed to love this. He takes the noir brushstrokes used in that film and sends them into the future, creating one that’s gritty and real enough to be believable. Heck, he even makes time travel and telekinesis feel mundane within the world of the film, which is a neat trick.
RC: It sure is. He uses the sci fi premise to allow the character of Joe in both forms to examine his life, past, present and future, and discover what’s really important to him. It’s humanist science fiction that values the person (or persons in this case) over special effects. It’s also a wildly entertaining chase movie, with enough sci fi to keep the left side of your brain engaged while the right brain will thrill to the chase.
NE: I’ll admit I was wary of the decision to use prosthetic makeup to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look more like Bruce Willis, but they pull it off for the most part. And the way the two actors work together to create one character — rather than have Gordon-Levitt just do a Willis impression — is fantastic. It’s also the most I’ve enjoyed Willis in years.
RC: It’s two, two Joes in one. I thought Gordon-Levitt nailed the cadences of Willis’s voice. Willis is Willis, but he does world-weary like no one else. Also enjoyed Emily Blunt as a protective mother whose son (Pierce Gagnon) is on Old Joe’s hit list. Ditto Jeff Daniels who takes a break from The Newsroom to play the looper boss.
NE: Great performances all around, for sure, in a movie that’s smart, well-made and just so much fun. I wish I could go back in time to brag to myself about having seen it.
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