JGL thrills as a younger Bruce Willis in “Looper”
In “Looper,” Joseph Gordon–Levitt plays Joe, an easy–going hit man who listens to Rosetta Stone as he waits for victims to poof onto a plastic mat outside a Kansas cornfield. He’s a looper, hired by the mob to murder agents sent back from a future where time travel has been invented and outlawed. When he fails to “close the loop” and kill his more competent future self—a badass Bruce Willis with his own set of hidden motives—he’s forced to run for his life while simultaneously hunting down Willis.
Looper might sound derivative, and it certainly is, ripping iconic elements from “Back to the Future,” “Terminator,” “Total Recall” and “X-Men.” In fact, we’re still not convinced that this isn’t a drug–addled, mob–themed sequel to Disney’s “The Kid” (2000), which also starred Willis visited by a younger version of himself. Nevertheless, Looper reimagines and reassembles these elements into a surprisingly original sci–fi epic, which moves effortlessly between drama, thriller and suspense while smartly back–eating its romances.
Despite some morbid mutilations and vividly bloody sequences, the film gives itself downtime to contemplate its heavier themes—child abandonment, the circular nature of crime and the dangers of hallucinatory eye drops. In the end, its time traveling dynamics are resolved neatly and cleverly, but the most perplexing twist remains unexplained. How can Joe recognize his future self when Joseph Gordon–Levitt and his disarming facial prosthetics look nothing like Bruce Willis?