Opening: LOOPER Sets the Time-Travel Bar High

Peter Martin, Managing Editor

Rian Johnson's highly-praised time-travel action picture Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, opens across the world on Friday, September 28.

Gordon-Levitt stars as a Mob assassin in the year 2044; Willis plays his future self. Our critical reactions have been extremely positive. First out of the gate, Jason Gorber provided his brief thoughts in advance of the film's debut as the opening night presentation of the Toronto International Film Festival:

"Accessible to a general audience while still having moments that will warm any film geek's heart, this is the kind of genre film that elevates the form. With feigned effortlessness, the filmmakers have managed to mess around with a pile of tired tropes and clichés, coming out in the end with something that feels entirely new and fresh. Quite simply, Looper does for high concept time traveling flicks what Raiders of the Lost Ark did for Action/Adventure serials."

In our formal review, Todd Brown avoids spoilers and explains why Looper exceeds expectations:

Writer-director Rian Johnson has accomplished something truly remarkable with his third feature film, Looper. He has delivered a thrilling, entertaining, action packed scifi thriller that is also incredibly smart and he has made it look easy. Looper is an exercise in world building par excellence, a film that is completely engrossing and rewarding on its own terms.
"Johnson is very clearly a character driven writer and an actor's director and every single role here is put on the page in beautiful detail and then delivered to perfection by a uniformly stellar cast. Willis and Gordon-Levitt are absolutely remarkable in the leads, the audience never doubting for a second that these two actors are actually the same man. Likewise Emily Blunt - whose character I am deliberately choosing not to talk about - delivers a powerful, nuanced, conflicted performance. Even when you step away from the leads the cast impresses. Paul Dano, Jeff Bridges, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo and the great Garrett Dillahunt - in my mind one of the greatest and most consistently overlooked character actors in the world today - all deliver stellar renditions of wonderfully complex and realistic characters."

Analyzing from a different perspective, and probably best read after seeing the movie, Kurt Halfyard offered his thoughts on the film in comparison with established time-travel tropes.

"Never allowing himself to be bogged down explaining the details (and paradoxes) of time-travel, rather letting the rules (and regulations) demonstrate themselves as the plot thickens, Johnson keeps things moving at an often alarming pace, but never loses sight of the characters or their desires and fears. There may be serious ramifications if you go back into the past and attempt to kill Hitler (or trample the wrong Bradbury butterfly), but the film keeps its focus squarely on the person-to-person relationships in 2044 and 2070 and where the twain may meet, converge, diverge. The stakes are still quite high, even if you often lose track of who is supposed to be the hero and who is the anti-hero."

Looper opens tomorrow in multiple territories worldwide. Check local listings for theaters and showtimes.

Around the Internet:
  • Jeff Carson

    Saw this over the weekend and loved it! Just got better and better as it went along.

  • Shang

    I think it's Jeff Daniels rather than Jeff Bridges

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