Review: Looper


  • Starring:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises), Bruce Willis (Die Hard), Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau) and more.
  • Directed by: Rian Johnson (Brick)
  • Synopsis: “In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented – but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a “looper” – a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination.” (-Collider)
  • Rated: Rated R for intense bloody violence, strong language, drug use and brief scenes of nudity and sexual content.
  • Trailer:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Bruce Willis and Bruce Willis stars as Joseph Gordon-Levitt in director Rian Johnson’s amazingly done scifi thriller, Looper. (Oh, and Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels are in the movie somewhere too!)

First off, let me tell you that I had some pretty high expectations for this time-travel thriller prior to seeing it. After learning that director Rian Johnson pitched the script to Gordon-Levitt over seven years ago while filming Brick, and that Emily Blunt signed on after reading not even half of the script and not even knowing about her own character, I could not WAIT to see it.


Looper did NOT disappoint!

Looper hit the mark!

Creative! Original! Exciting! Thrilling!

It is easy to understand why so many people are hailing this film as the “scifi flick of the year.” So many elements make this film what it is, and they do it successfully. From the cast to the story to the special effects and more, it is superb. Rian Johnson, please make more films like this.

In most science fiction films (or any movie where the events are taking place in a different time, universe, etc), the rules of operation are often thrown to the audience all at once in a rush at the beginning, and sometimes in a rather confusing manner causing the rules to be forgotten as the movie progresses. Johnson wisely introduces the viewer to the world of the story and eases in the important rules, physics, and laws not only at the beginning, but reinforces them throughout…strengthening their impact in the events of the film. Not abruptly and all at once, in a way that adds to the storytelling itself.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt went through a bit of make-up and prosthetic attachment procedures to look like a younger Bruce Willis.

And what a story it is! With a few twists and unexpected turns that, when they come, are more accepted as a result of the smart setup that Johnson does through his storytelling. Almost…dare I say…Nolan-ish. Truly enjoyable in its level of unpredictability and keeping the thrill of the excitement of the uncertain future in such a mesmerizing manner.

But, the meat and potatoes (as they say) of this movie is the performances themselves. Bruce Willis is, of course, great at doing Bruce Willis…but Joseph Gordon-Levitt is uncanny in his “Bruce Willis-isms”. Wow! The emulation is surreal. JGL plays the “younger” Joe that we are first introduced to. Living the rockstar life of drugs, sex, booze, and riches, he seems to have it all except direction. (He doesn’t just look like a younger “Bruce Willis”-performed Joe…he acts like him too!)

In stark contrast, “Old” Joe ends up in the past with drive, direction, passion, and experience and seeks to secure the future he knows, regardless of the cost. This is where Willis’ performance shines as he emulates JGL’s character through a darker than usual path that Willis usually takes. Both Willis and Gordon-Levitt work phenomenally mirroring one another that it is almost freakish.

I couldn’t help but laugh when reading somewhere online this week where someone said “I just hope that Joseph Gordon-Levitt doesn’t look like Bruce when he gets older in real life.” hahaha

Looper has a few unexpected yet acceptable twists (acceptable as a result of the amazing setup story work) throughout that keep you on your toes, and ends in a rather satisfying way that oftentimes most scifi films do not. Filled with elements of humanity: messages of self-preservation, discovery, and worth: the value of friendship and sacrifice, and the importance of family, this is a science fiction film that ties in more than just action, flux capacitors, photon torpedoes, and Klingons.

Yes, there is plenty of action, explosions, but the more captivating parts of this time-travel thriller are story and performances. The action is a fun bonus to the characters in the film as you sit there with eyes wide open in amazement, anticipation, and excitement as the story continues to unfold.

Johnson’s Looper is character-rich, story-rich, action-rich, and excitement-rich. Being compared to films such as Blade Runner and The Matrix, Looper’s originality keeps it fresh and up to expectations! Go see it!

I’m not ready to call this the “Best movie of the year” yet…still have 3 more months. But, it’s definitely one of the TOP!

Score:  4.5 out of 5 stars for Looper

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer


  1. A great review. I posted mine the other day and I agree with you 100%. It is a science-fiction flick but it is the characters that make you invest your time. I think it is definitely going to end the year being one of the best!


  2. 😀 Glad to see you enjoyed it so much, T. I did too. Like you, I’m already polishing off a spot in my top ten list for it.

    The contrast between the two Joes IS noteworthy… the story IS unique. I definitely definitely loved this one. 😀


  3. Had high expectations for this film and while they felt like they weren’t all met, I didn’t walk away from this feeling disappointed. The perfect antidote to a very blah post-summer blockbuster month.


  4. Glad you liked the movie too! I wasn’t very excited about this one, but I ended up loving it – such a great story and the execution of it was just masterful. Loved how they left many things to interpretation and scattered hints and clues all over the film.


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