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For all of you fans of “Back To The Future” out there, there may be a new favorite time travel movie for you; Rian Johnson’s “Looper” is a truly entertaining combination of gore and science fiction, a cerebral thriller/comedy characterized by its utter straightforwardness even with its puzzled storyline.
Taking place in a near future where the new designer drug of choice is eye-dropped heroin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe – a man who makes his living as a professional looper. Loopers have the job of killing and disposing of bodies that come through a time portal from the future. Joe likes his job and certainly loves the sleazy, drug-infested lifestyle associated with it, but despite Joe’s tranquility, he is put to the test when he must pull the trigger on the man that is himself in 30 years.
Playing future Joe is Bruce Willis with an aura of experience and perplexity, dictating to younger Joe the happenings of his future that are to come. Throughout the course of “Looper,” both Joes must decide between what seems better for them and what seems better for humanity.
There are obviously many awesome kill scenes – and even though they’re wildly repetitive, they don’t ever get any less enthralling. However, the height of “Looper” lies in a diner conversation over steak and eggs between present Joe and future Joe in a scene reminiscent in its tension of the diner scene from Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.” There’s nothing overly complicated that they’re discussing, but what they’re discussing is deep and meaningful amidst a dreadfully dark atmosphere.
“Looper” plays the same way as that conversation does. It’s not complicated, but it’s meaningful. It’s an awesome action-packed thriller that’s not characterized by its violence, but instead by its ethical undertone that tells us incessantly yet subtly to always do the right thing. Maybe “Looper” would be better without that constant message, but it’s still a pretty damn good achievement for director Rian Johnson anyway.
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