Looper (2012): Oscarworthy?
It’s been a really long while since I wrote a movie review but here I am again, this time with one of my favorite movies from 2012: Looper! I don’t know why but whenever I mention this movie to my friends, people look at me wondering what the hell I’m talking about so I guess it’s about time this movie got some extra attention, apart from the great reviews it’s gotten in the press.
Looper is set both in 2074 as well as in the rather near future in 2044. You see, in 2044 time travel hasn’t been invented yet, but in 2074 it has. However, it was immediately made illegal by the government. At the same time, technology and CSI skills have advanced in such a way, that it has become nearly impossible to kill people. Therefore, the mob has gotten their hands on a device, which allows them to send people back in time to 2044, where a paid assassin is waiting for him while holding a shotgun. When the victim pops up (head sacked) the assassin shoots him right away, turns him over and collects the silver bars that are strapped to the victim’s back. Easy right?
As you can probably already guess, there is one big catch to it. The assassins are called Loopers, because at one point or another, they are forced to “close their own loop”. When crime bosses want to end a Looper’s contract, they send the Looper’s future self back to be killed by his past self, and thus “closing the loop”, where they are given gold instead of silver pay to retire for thirty years before being sent back in time to be killed.
Back in 2044 we meet several of these Loopers, amongst which is the main character Joe Simmons (Joseph-Gordon Levitt) and his boss Abe (Jeff Daniels). At one night, one of Joe’s fellow-Loopers Seth, comes to him for help, as he was supposed to close his loop but let his future self escape, much to the dismay of their boss Abe, who has organized a witch-hunt for Seth and his future self.
Later, Joe is faced with the exact same problem, as his target pops up with his head uncovered and he starts to realize he’s looking his future self (Bruce Willis) in the eye. Those few seconds of hesitation allows old Joe to escape and young Joe being chased down by Abe and his men. When they catch up with him, he falls down from his apartment and dies on impact, causing the future to change (it’s a rather confusing bit in the movie). Bruce Willis just shows up like any other victim, with his head covered, gets shot and Joe gets his retirement money. The end.
Just kidding! Although his future has changed, in 30 years from then, Joe does manage to go back to 2044, with one very important mission. He manages to escape again and prevents the young Joe from dieing. In the meanwhile, we learn that, back in 2074, there is this guy (The Rainmaker) who took over all organized crimes and decided to close down all the loops and had Joe’s wife killed. Old Joe is determined to prevent The Rainmaker from ever taking over the mob and avoid the murder of his wife. Now I can’t go into the details of the rest of the story without giving away the punch line and ruin the entire movie for you, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that’s it’s a massively great story!
And the Oscar goes to..
What makes this movie one of my favorite’s of this year is the transformation Joseph-Gordon Levitt had to undergo. As you already know, he is supposed to play the younger version of Bruce Willis, although they look nothing alike. It would’ve been so easy for the director to simply use the actors and not do much about it, but thankfully Rian Johnson had better plans than that. Every day, Levitt spend a few hours in the make-up department to make sure he had similar features as Bruce Willis. On top of that, he studied him to be able to better mimic his voice and body language. He even had Willis record some of his dialogue to analyze it and make sure he sounded just like him, only slightly younger.
I must say, the result is stunning! There’s no doubt in my mind that Joseph-Gordon Levitt should get an Oscar-nomination for his work in this movie, although I’m a big fan of all his other work this year as well. But either way, the work he put into this role really pays off and the movie is very entertaining, exciting and most definitely worth a watch! The story is well-thought off, the acting is superb and some of the scenes will make you cringe from excitement especially when you figure out how he’s going to try to stop The Rainmaker.