Looper (15, 118 mins) Sci-Fi/Action/Thriller Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Pierce Gagnon, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels Director: Rian Johnson Released: Friday September 28
In 2005, writer-director Rian Johnson made a big splash with his ambitious debut, Brick, which set a classic noir detective story in a modern-day California high school.
The Maryland-born film-maker is back on fine form with this ingeniously plotted thriller that exploits the gaping plot holes afforded by time travel.
Looper demands constant vigilance from the audience to keep track of alternate, intersecting timelines.
It’s all meticulously planned and stylishly executed, realising Marty McFly’s worst nightmare from the Back To The Future series by allowing a hero to co-exist with his future self in the same timeframe.
The ripple effect leads to a simple yet striking flourish: wounds inflicted on a young protagonist simultaneously manifest as scars on the older self.
This temporal torture allows the characters to cleverly communicate with each other by scoring letters and symbols into their own flesh.
Looper opens in 2044 Kansas. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an assassin or ‘looper’, whose raison d’etre is to gun down hooded targets that have been sent back in time.
Like his fellow loopers, Joe knows his life expectancy is finite and one fateful day he will “close the loop” by gunning down his future self.
But when Joe hesitates from his bloody duties and allows Future Joe (Bruce Willis) to escape, the race between hunter and hunted begins in earnest.
Plot mechanics trump performances so Gordon-Levitt’s usual intensity is muted while Willis plays to his strengths as an action man.
A slow-motion final reckoning is spectacular, benefiting from slick digital effects, and Johnson ties up as many loose ends as possible to close the loop on potential sequels.
n Swearing, No Sex, Violence n Rating: 7/10