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Wednesday, 17 October 2012 11:30 | By Genevieve Loh

Movie Review: Looper (NC16,118min) 3.5 / 5 stars / Time after time

Rian Johnson's time travel tale ably mixes action, comedy and sci-fi


Looper

Looper

SINGAPORE - Jeff Daniels' character Abe says in Looper, "this time travel s*** really fries your brain like an egg". I couldn't agree more.

Movies about time travel can get so caught up in the mechanics and paradoxes inherent within that they end up forgetting the most important point of all: A good story.

Thank goodness director Rian Johnson doesn't, and ends up delivering a thoughtful narrative within the genre about destiny and how our past shapes our irrevocable future. The actor-of-the-moment Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Joe, who in the year 2042 serves as one of a select group of "loopers": Paid assassins who eliminate whoever is sent back from the future, via time travel from the year 2072, by the ruling mob of that future era.

Joe is growing ever richer with his blood-splattered career choice, until the day when he finds that he's expected to wipe out the 30-years-older version of himself. When old Joe (Bruce Willis) escapes young Joe's attempt to kill him, it's a race against time as the two Joes have different motives for protecting one another. If any of that sounds confusing, don't worry: Johnson cleverly keeps his time travel logic simple, but also just fuzzy enough to allow for our imagination to fill in the blanks.

The film then unabashedly goes straight into action-movie territory, but thanks to the stylish shots, nobody minds. Now a full-fledged leading man, Gordon-Levitt, decked out in prosthetics to make him resemble Bruce Willis, is great, perfectly balancing vulnerability and "Bruce-esque" grit. Undoubtedly the biggest die-hard of them all is Willis, who is surprisingly solid as the older Joe. Throw in Emily Blunt, strong and dramatic in a supporting role, wowing with a spot-on American accent alongside young Pierce Gagnon who scarily acts far beyond his years as her son.

A salad mix of science fiction, mob movie, existential drama and dark comedy, Johnson is intent on giving your brain a proper workout, with a huge side of entertainment. And you'll be surprised how much you'll enjoy that.

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