Top 100 Films Of The 2010’s – #82 – Looper (2012)

RELEASED: 28th September 2012

DIRECTOR: Rian Johnson

CAST: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels, Qing Xu, Frank Brennan, Garret Dillahunt and Pierce Gagnon

BUDGET: $30m



In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits – someone like Joe – who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by sending back Joe’s future self for assassination.


Looper is set in the year 2044, focusing on a hired gun named Joe. He works for a crime syndicate as a ‘looper’, who kill and dispose of face-concealed victims who are sent back from the future thirty years from now (due to future tracking systems that make disposing of bodies near-impossible) where time travel exists and is instantly outlawed. To prevent connections to the syndicate, a looper’s final victim will be their future self, ending the contract and closing the loop. Unfortunately for Joe, when his future self is sent back for assassination, he escapes and the two men struggle trying to evade capture and attempting to fulfill their own personal agendas.


After making his name with neo-noir mystery Brick and comedy-drama The Brothers Bloom, Rian Johnson officially came onto everyones radar with 2012 sci-fi drama Looper. Set in a future where low-level telekinesis exist amongst a minority of the population, but even further into the future (2074) time travel exists and only crime syndicates seem to have their hands on it due to it being instantly outlawed, leading to them sending back people that they want disposed by hired-gun’s in 2044 known as ‘loopers’. It’s an interesting premise and thankfully Johnson doesn’t delve too much into the aspect of paradoxes of time travel, but embraces them by the little details, such as the scarring of ones younger self to give the older self a message (which is a neat little trick by the way). We witness how far the syndicate will go to close the loops if one were to escape from their younger counterpart (shown horrifically in the first act). You would figure that the two Joe’s would see eye to eye on a few things, but as shown in the diner after Older Joe escapes and younger Joe has to go on the run, they’re the opposite of the other. Older Joe is older, wiser and bitter as he looks to save his future life, while younger Joe is naive, almost resentful of Older Joe messing up his future life. We understand their arguments, especially Older Joe as we see how his life played out after being a ‘looper’ and the tragedy he suffers, leading him on a vendetta going back to 2044 to hunt down the Rainmaker, a mysterious figure in the future who overthrows the crime bosses and is closing all the loops. Looper is a slow-paced character journey, with nice action set pieces, particularly in Joe’s apartment, the diner and the club. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is really good as the younger Joe, while Bruce Willis gives arguably his performance in the decade as the older Joe, who will go to any lengths in order to take down the Rainmaker. Emily Blunt is also very good, as is Jeff Daniels, in the supporting roles as Sara and Abe. Granted the prosthetics on JGL and special effects for the hover bike maybe slightly distracting/outdated now, Looper still remains a fresh sci-fi original film of the 2010’s.


FAVOURITE SCENE: Gat Man Jesse, has Sara at gunpoint and as Joe tries to de-escalate the situation, young Cid falls down the stairs and we witness his full TK power in all its glory.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: “I don’t want to talk about time travel because if we start talking about it then we’re going to be here all day talking about it, making diagrams with straws.” – Older Joe

DID YOU KNOW: The scene where Young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) falls off the fire escape was filmed on the actor’s 30th birthday. Gordon-Levitt was left hanging on the stunt wires while the crew sang “Happy Birthday” and wheeled out a birthday cake.

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