Looper takes place in the near future, and itís a pretty messy place. Not only is everything run down and broken, but it seems that a group of mobsters even further in the future (30 years to be exact) have no problem using a bit of banned technology to send hits back into the past to be killed.
While time travel does get discovered in the future, it is immediately outlawed, but that doesn't stop the big mob bosses. Instead, they sent one man into the past to set up an organization of hired killers called Loopers.
A Looper's job is simple: go to a specified location and a given time and kill whoever suddenly appears. They will be bound, gagged and have a hood over their head. Strapped to the victim's back are bars of silver, their payment for the deed. Why are they called Loopers? Well, eventually the person they are sent to kill is an older version of themselves, and the payoff is not only gold instead of silver, but the chance to leave the organization. Of course, the one caveat is that in 30 years, you will be hunted down and sent back in time to be killed by your younger self to "close the loop."
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays one such Looper named Joe. Joe does his job well, but he is also planning for the future. He is hoarding his silver and thinking about ways to get away once he closes his loop. When it comes time to do the deed though, he finds his older self (Bruce Willis) appearing unbound and ready to fight back.
Young Joe, in trouble with his boss, Abe (Jeff Daniels), does all he can to find and hunt down his older self. When the two have a heart-to-heart, he learns that the older Joe plans on hunting down the person responsible for taking over all of the gangs in the future and closing all of the outstanding loops. All he really knows about this person is a number and the fact that he/she is about 10 years old in present time. Old Joe wants this present-day kid gone because the attempt to kidnap Joe and send him back in time left his wife dead.
I was rather pleased with the added layer to the movie. Given the trailers for Looper, it looked like little more than a shoot-em-up between Gordon-Levitt and Willis, but Old Joe's mission in the present day actually adds a lot of story. It also leads to Young Joe meeting up with a tough and independent mother named Sara (Emily Blunt) whose kid Cid (Pierce Gagnon) is one of the name's on Old Joe's list.
For the most part, everyone did a good job in their roles. Blunt's role as the protective mother was solid, while Willis played his standard action-hero self and the young Gagnon plays out the part of Cid excellently. All that being said, Gordon-Levitt goes above and beyond in Looper. Not only are there some subtle prosthetics used to help bridge the gap between his face and Willis', Gordon-Levitt takes on a lot of the mannerisms and speech patterns of Willis.
Looper's special featuers include over a half hour of deleted scenes, an odd trailer for the film that feels like it belongs in an independent film festival, and several featurettes. One featurette talks about the possibility of time travel, while another is a general behind-the-scenes extra and another features the film's unusual soundtrack that uses a lot of "found sound" to build instruments and help give the near-future it's unnerving feeling.
While I enjoyed Looper, I can't really see watching it over and over again. The combination of Gordon-Levitt and Willis makes it a fun film to watch, but it's definitely a rental before deciding to buy it.