A few good films were released this weekend but we went to see the new Joseph Gordon Levitt is Bruce Willis film; Looper. The film had been raved about from critics in some of its early screenings and I have to say it was a film I was really looking forward to. The idea behind it is great; in a future where time travel has been invented, Gordon Levitt plays an assassin know as a 'looper' who kills targets sent back in time to him in order to erase them from the future, however he struggles to kill his next target when he realises that it is actually his future self (Bruce Willis). When he allows himself to get away he must go on the hunt in order to kill this man before his boss kills him. That premise is a lot easier to explain than it is to write but I'm pretty sure that you all understand the premise as it has been plastered all over cinemas over the past few weeks. Like I said the idea is full of intrigue and has the potential to be very clever. As well as a great idea we have a great cast. Levitt is on fine form of late, Willis is an action hero, and Emily Blunt is an actress who always delivers. The effects are top notch, the bizarre way the plot unfolds is highly interesting, and the director is one of the up and coming stars, but I have to say despite it being a very good film I get the feeling it should have been ever better.
I will tell you my few quibbles with the film that let me down and then build it up to what is ace about it as this is a film I don't want people to be put off seeing as it is one you must see. For me I wanted more. I love these types of films that make you think and give you an ending that is intelligent and has you thinking for days; however I don't feel we got that. The film isn't overly intelligent. The premise is but I felt that Rian Johnson gave too much away in constant explanation and narration from Levitt's character, meaning we never got to learn it all ourselves. I understand it is a complex film and be difficult to tell us in visual aspects but the narration seemed to be there simply to explain the world so I felt like I was watching a story instead of being involved in one. This is also a problem with Levitt's character who I failed to ever connect with. He was a junkie who was an assassin and also ratted his best mate out for money; this is not a character I instantly liked so I never really cared for his journey. Even the future version of himself in Willis failed to really entrap me considering he was on a mission to kill a man from the future who in this present time is a child. The characters really failed to grip me.
The second act is where the film starts to lag a little. The set up with the time travel is intriguing but that takes a back seat in the second act and we become bogged down in a B story on a farm with Emily Blunt. Here the film slightly drags as now we have some expositional dialogue that needs to explain the back story. This part does have a place by the end but the cat and mouse game I was hoping to see between Levitt and Willis never really took place or got up and running. The film also fails to recognise a baddie. Throughout it changes and by the end I was unsure as to who the villain of the film really was. The ending was also not as well done as I thought it could have been. As you can see there are some issues I had with it, so what made me still quite enjoy it? Well the acting is very good. Levitt captures Willis' characteristics and in one particular scene you could have mistaken him for being a younger Willis. The makeup can become a little distracting considering we know it is Levitt under it but his performance does make you get over that. This isn't his best performance but he does deliver. Willis is his usual self which isn't a bad thing in this sort of film, meaning the star of the show was Emily Blunt who transforms from what we are used to seeing her into a paranoid farmer who is hiding a terrifying secret.
The film is very cool. I mean that in a way it is full of cool ideas. The best scene in the film is in a diner between Willis and Levitt discussing their situation. The dialogue and timing is brilliant and it is good for a giggle as well as tension. Seeing an older version of yourself tell you your future could be disturbing, but no more so than a younger version telling you they will do all they can to prevent that future. These are the sort of moments I was really looking forward to and I am a little disappointed that there weren't more of them.
I feel like I have mentioned more negatives than positives, especially considering it is one of the better films we have seen this year despite these few problems. I think the reason for this is that I wanted it to have been better. That being said there are lots of parts that I very much liked in the film. High expectations as we always know do generally shatter. I was expecting a film to be on par with The Dark Knight Rises, one as intelligent as Inception but in the end we had a great idea that could have been greater, a bit like In Time or The Adjustment Bureau although this is a lot better than either of those. Don't not see this because of my negatives because like I say it is a very good film; the acting, story, music, science fiction elements, sound design, production design, the B story, the effects are all brilliant, its just I feel like there is something missing with all of this that doesn't quite make it the brilliant film I was hoping for.
Pros: Interesting premise which has a lot of potential.
Cons: Unlikeable characters and a lagging middle act.
7.5 / 10
Top 10 of 2012 so far:
1. The Dark Knight Rises 10 / 10
2. The Hunger Games 8 / 10
3. Snow White And The Huntsman 8 / 10
4. Avengers Assemble 7.5 / 10
5. Looper 7.5 / 10
6. Ted 7.5 / 10
7. 21 Jump Street 7.5 / 10
8. Lawless 7 / 10
9. The Expendables 2 7 / 10
10. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 7 / 10