2019 Film Reviews - 16: Looper [dir. Rian Johnson; 2012]
There is much that’s right about Looper, so it’s interesting to consider why it’s rather unmemorable. The central premise of the plot - the best way to get rid of unwanted people in the future is to zap them back into the waiting barrel of an assassin in the past - is rather ingenious, and certainly no more preposterous than that of other time-bending tales. The production design - part BladeRunner, part Taxi Driver - is an intelligent mix of the grimy and the fantastical. And the performances tick all the right boxes, once you get past the creepy, never-quite-real-enough make-up that’s been used to transform Joseph Gordon-Levitt into a younger version of Bruce Willis. And yet the whole never quite rings true, perhaps because Johnson has tried to fashion a piece of philosophising sci-fi whilst wanting to eat his genre cake too. There’s just too much comic book violence, too great an emphasis on thrills and chases and too juvenile an attitude to character development (especially in the case of Emily Blunt) to justify the attempts at profundity. If you can’t pull off the heavy stuff, just try to do everything else well. At least the results are likely to be more fun.