RIAN JOHNSON’S LOOPER — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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I’m still not 100% positive that I follow Looper and all of its time-travel hoopla and all of the rules the story establishes. But that doesn’t stop me from loving it up and down, and revisiting it whenever it pops up on the movie channels. I was a big fan of writer/director Rian Johnson’s debut film, Brick; his follow up, The Brothers Bloom, was a bit too precious but still demonstrated tons of style and cinematic quirk. But Looper is a heady and stylish mélange of science fiction and noir with some bloody shoot-outs, numerous narrative twists and turns, and really fun performances from an eclectic cast including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels, Emily Blunt, Piper Perabo, Pierce Gagnon, Garret Dillahunt (love this guy!), Frank Brennan, and Noah Segan. I am still not entirely sure that Gordon-Levitt looks like Willis, but I can roll with it; when a movie is having this much fun and is consistently smart with its various elements than I can look past some inconsistencies.

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Another big reason why this movie works as well as it does is that the characters are fully formed and everyone feels multidimensional, which is something that can’t be said for every movie of this ilk. And then when the explosive final act kicks into high-gear, the viewer has become emotionally invested in the story and characters so that by the end, you truly care about the outcome. The slick cinematography by Steve Yedlin features some superb individual shots, with lots of seamlessly integrated visual effects that make the film feel more expensive that it was. Looper was a big hit worldwide, pulling in $175 million, with a budget of roughly $30 million. The Chinese release version included additional scenes set in Shanghai that were removed for the American final cut.

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