Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Looper

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93% (Critics) / 91% (Audience)
Directed By: Rian Johnson
Written By: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt
Studio: Sony Pictures

Synopsis: In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.

The Good:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis playing the same character at different points in his life brought equal but different levels of intensity to Joe the Looper. Willis was a more world weary but no less cold-blooded version of Joe who was ready to do all manner of horrible deed in the name of love while Gordon-Levitt played Joe as a selfish, damaged man who didn’t realize exactly how awful a life he was living until he was forced to come literally face to face with himself. And the way they made Gordon-Levitt look so much like Willis was pretty cool.
I also liked how Johnson was able to make a film that looked simultaneously stylishly slick and gritty (a feat he also pulled off just as successfully in his debut film, Brick). His vision of the various futures was a bit of a downer but the visual choices he made were spot on.

The Bad:
There wasn’t much that I found lacking in this film but the one spot that was not as strong as the rest was Emily Blunt’s Sara. I never bought her as a woman who lived a hard, fast party girl life and then gave it up for her child.

The Ugly:
The way that cute little Pierce Gagnon was able to go from adorably precocious kid to possessed demon child was unnerving to say the least.

Final Verdict: A really great film from top to bottom. The story is clever and keeps you guessing, the direction is tight, the visual style is appealing and almost all of the performances are really good. Its not often that you get such deep character development in what is marketed as an action movie but Looper delivers on both of those fronts in spades.

Grade: A-

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