The year of Joseph Gordon-Levitt rolls on with Looper.
Taking place in 2044, Gordon-Levitt plays Joe Simmons, a Looper whose job is to kill agents that are sent back in time (from 2074) by the mafia. Once killed, Joe receives a payout for his job and disposes of the body. Joe has been stockpiling his payouts, as a precaution for an inevitable fate.
In 2074, the older version of Joe (Bruce Willis) travels back to 2044 with a plan of his own. He escapes from Young Joe and continues on with his agenda. As Young Joe has let his older self escape, he needs to make amends with his boss, Abe, (Jeff Daniels) and kill his older self.
Once the plot has kicked in, the dystopian version of Kansas City eventually is transitioned to a farmhouse where Sara (Emily Blunt) and Cid (Pierce Gagnon) live. Old Joe and Young Joe have reasons to be here, and Sara and Cid are caught in the middle of a situation that they know nothing about...yet.
Rian Johnson wrote and directed this sci-fi/thriller which blends full-fledged action along with a smart script. With all the details regarding the time travel aspect along with multiple on-going storylines, this script really is able to balance out story with action in a fluid manner where the film does not suffer.
What threw me for a loop (I guess, pun intended) was that most of what is shown in the commercials and the trailers happens in the first half of the film. The sequences involving a dystopian city and showcasing what the future looks like are all crammed into the first half of the film, along with a good amount of action sequences. Once the plot moves to the farmhouse, the storyline slows down to explain what is going on and why we are here. I was actually surprised how much of the film is spent at the farmhouse and how much the story slowed down, and not in a bad way.
Regarding the performances, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his prosthetic makeup do a pretty good job at creating a character and resembling Bruce Willis. Speaking of Bruno, he shows up and actually does some decent acting for once, but I didn't feel fully invested into his plot. Not to say Old Joe's story is bad, Bruce Willis just did not make me feel as invested into what he wanted.
Jeff Daniels stood out to me as Young Joe's boss, Abe. Jeff Daniels has a likability to him which he uses well in this film. Abe gets along with Young Joe, but still works for the mafia. If what he needs is not given, that nice guy demeanor disappears and out comes a violent mob associate. A small role, but Jeff Daniels gives it his all.
3 sequences stood out for me in this film. The first involves the transition of Joseph Gordon-Levitt into Bruce Willis, or as my dear friend Karina calls it: "Death of Bruce's Hair". The next one is a great sequence showcasing the effects that the mafia torturing someone can have on their future self. The last one occurs near the end of the film where someone reveals a hidden secret and a character feels the full effects of it.
As stated, this is a smart action film that really should be seen. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has gone 2 for 3 so far this year. Shocking that his one miss was a David Koepp film. Rian Johnson is no David Koepp and, for the film Looper, that is a good thing.