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“Looper”: The future of science fiction

Despite the fact that it came in second to “Hotel Transylvania” at the box office this weekend (damn you, Adam Sandler), “Looper” is a movie that everyone should be seeing, loving and trying to wrap their minds around.
This year has brought some major disappointments in the science fiction genre (I’m looking at you, “Prometheus”), but “Looper” makes up for all of them. This is the best science-fiction movie to come along in years. Yep, it’s better than “Inception.”  Actually, I thought “Inception” was just OK, but I’m getting off-topic.

“Looper” is set in 2044, and time travel hasn’t been invented yet. But it will be. And when it is, it is immediately outlawed. That won’t stop the criminal underworld of 2074 from using it, though.  Since it’s impossible to dispose of a body in ’74, the crime bosses send their targets back in time where they are killed by hired guns, the titular “loopers.”  

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, who is a pretty successful looper despite the fact that he is a junkie. He does what he’s told to by the crime boss who came back from the future to set the whole thing up (brilliantly played by Jeff Daniels), and he’s saving up his earnings so he can retire to France someday.

Then it gets weird. Bruce Willis arrives from the future and escapes Joe and down the rabbit hole we go. I think the trailers have pretty much spoiled that Willis is the older version of Gordon-Levitt’s character. Gordon-Levitt even wears facial prosthetics to look more like Willis.  

Time-travel movies are often difficult to review without giving too much away. Having seen the movie, I’d say the less you know about it going in, the better. I can tell you, however, that this movie is one of my favorites of the year so far (then again, so was “Dredd,” and it bombed).  

The actors all do a great job. Gordon-Levitt keeps proving himself as one of the best in the business, Willis brings his A-game, and the supporting actors like Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels, Piper Perabo, Garret Dillahunt, and little Pierce Gagnon makes this one of the best supporting casts you could hope for.

Willis and Gordon-Levitt play their parts so well that the moment where they meet for a conversation at a diner is downright spine-tingling. What would you ask your future self if it they were sitting across the table from you? What about your past self?

The action scenes are fun and there is a fair amount of comedy, but there are also some really dark and downright horrifying moments as well. The world of the future looks suitably futuristic without being too far removed from the current landscape, and the majority of the movie takes place in a rural setting.

The movie reminded me most of “The Terminator,” though if I told you how and why, I think I’d be spoiling too much. No, Bruce Willis isn’t a robot, but there are a lot of similarities in the plots of the two movies if you look for them, and not just that the main female character in both movies is named Sarah.

If I’ve been a little vague in this review, I promise it’s for your own good. We deserve movies like this — movies that make us think and reward us for our thinking. I have seen the future of sci-fi, and it is “Looper.”

I give the movie five blunderbusses out of five.