Rian Johnson knocks audiences for a ‘Loop’

Joe Llorin, Features Editor

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If you thought 2009’s “Inception” was confusing, your head will literally be left spinning after seeing director Rian Johnson’s sci-fi action film “Looper.”

In Shanghai of 2074, recently invented time travel is instantly forbidden. Because of such restriction, crime bosses are unable to properly kill any of their targets, so they illegally send them to the past- 30 years back to be exact.

Welcome to Kansas in the year 2044. Joseph “Joe“ Simmons (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a young man who lives the average mafia member’s life- he makes good money, spends all night out with his friends, doesn’t have a care in the world and oh yeah, he takes advantage of the space-time continuum by eliminating people from the future.

Simmons makes his living as a Looper, someone who is hired by afore mentioned crime bosses to eliminate anonymous targets from the future. It is a looper’s absolute duty to make sure they complete each assassination and dispose of the body successfully. Failure to do so results in their own death at the hands of Abe (played by Jeff Daniels), the loopers’ boss.

When a looper’s contract is to be terminated, the target they are sent to eliminate is their future self, resulting in a large final check in exchange for the knowledge of their inevitable death. This is known as “closing one’s loop.”

When Joe discovers that he’s to eliminate his future self (played by Bruce Willis), he loses focus and Future Joe is able to escape. Fearing for his current life, Joe scrambles around the state, avoiding Abe’s henchmen while trying to find and kill his future self.

However, Future Joe has an agenda of his own. Living the life that Joe has yet to, Future Joe is aware of what becomes of their life: working as a looper for many years until meeting the love of his life, only to marry her, live happily, and then be ripped away from her and sent to the past by the one in charge of the entire loopers’ organization, a mysterious man by the alias of the Rainmaker. His goal throughout the movie is to change their destiny.

Unlike most movies today, “Looper” utilizes a cornucopia of other films’ styles, from old westerns like “Dirty Harry” to recent cult smash hits like “Kill Bill.” Although the film takes place in the rather distant future, a lot of the film’s elements were minimalistic- from the lack of noticeable change in setting to the lack of futuristic technology (although Joseph Simmons rides a hovering motorcycle), “Looper” takes the traditional spin on the future and completely tones it down.

Overall, each of the cast members performed very well, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt leading the pack. Although the movie has an overall serious tone, Gordon-Levitt and Willis were able to provide laughs for the audience while still delivering a very convincing performance, despite the fact that they’ve hardly worked together in the past. Known for his action movies, Willis gets no shortage of ass-kicking here, but he may finally have fulfilled his bloodlust with the film’s R rating.

However, time travel is always such a challenging concept to portray. Most of the movie will have audiences confused, especially during the film’s second half. Some of the dialogue may be hard to follow if one isn’t engaged in the film deep enough and one can easily get lost if not paying attention. This isn’t your average “Back to the Future” stuff. On the contrary, if you follow the film’s plot well enough, you will eventually understand the whole film.

Overall, with a great cast, director and literally incredible synopsis, “Looper” cements itself as a film that has changed the way moviegoers view the complicated concept of time travel. Although the plot is hard to follow, its wonderfully written script animated by equally wonderful actors keeps audiences in the loop as the film progresses.