DVD Review - Looper

Bruce Willis meets his younger self,
played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in "Looper"
Rian Johnson won Best Original Screenplay three times. The National Board of Review, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society and the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards all gave the script to Rian Johnson's Looper that top prize. It was enough for people to predict it might get an Oscar nomination. Fortunately, it didn't. Critics praised it as one of the best sci-fi movies of the year. Many of them gave the caveat that people have to overlook scrutinizing those sci-fi aspects, particularly the time travel ones because scrutinizing such would crumble the movie. If that's so, then I ask, "What's the point?" Some people respond that the point is the character dilemma that Johnson creates. That would be well and good, if I liked any of the characters.

Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis play cold-blooded assassins and they're initial plans if carried to their logical conclusions only further their careers as cold-blooded assassins. Therefore, it's hard if next to impossible for me to care about either of them. Johnson tries to give Willis' character a noble goal for which he's fighting but Gordon-Levitt's character gives Willis an easy solution for that goal, but Willis' character chooses to take the more difficult, the more selfish and more horrific route instead, so Johnson almost immediately puts the final nail in the coffin of the audience liking Willis.

Some might argue The Godfather (1972) as a movie with protagonists who are bad guys or even villains. A lot of TV shows do the same like The Shield, Dexter or Breaking Bad. The only difference is that the TV shows can do a better job of making those protagonists more loveable and endearing, most likely because they have more time to do so. The Godfather has a far different tone than Looper, a tone and genre that doesn't necessarily work for this sci-fi adventure.

The conceit of this movie is that both Gordon-Levitt and Willis' characters want to stop a future character known as the Rainmaker. My question is why. Why should the audience want to go along with this? The movie tells us that the Rainmaker has taken control of the gangs in the future and is now closing the loops. Closing the loops means that the Rainmaker is permanently stopping the cold-blooded assassins, so why is the Rainmaker someone who needs to be stopped?

If Johnson were braver, he would have gone the route of 12 Monkeys and allowed the Rainmaker to become who he becomes and not allow any efforts to stop him fail. Johnson doesn't give us enough of the future Rainmaker to make the audience understand why he's such a threat.

Johnson also makes it clear that the Rainmaker has telekinetic powers that can easily kill a man. Why the Rainmaker doesn't just kill Willis' character himself is also not made clear.

Garret Dillahunt plays a small role in this film. It's the second time he's played a character who is attacked by a person with telekinetic powers. Check out the TV series The 4400. Dillahunt is currently on the TV series Raising Hope. It's also the second time he's played a character in a time travel assassination scenario. Check out the TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Johnson also doesn't give us a good enough sense of the future and the extent of the organization for which Gordon-Levitt's character works. How many assassins are there? Why so many? It's just all a fog. That, and for an action movie, there is very little action.

One Star out of Five.
Rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality and drug content.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 59 mins.


  1. Good review Marlon. The cast is great, especially JGL who has been having a stellar career so far, but the plot it what really kept me interested as it continued to throw twist-after-twist at me, without any confusion whatsoever. It’s a great sci-fi flick that actually makes sense.


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