We are looking at the new calendar year that is only scant hours away, it seems only fitting that as our future awaits that new on DVD & Blu-Ray today is a film where the characters pasts and future are both haunted by what will come. After a huge debut opening this past edition of the Toronto International Film Festival it is now ready to be launched into home theatres all across the land. Get ready for “Looper”.
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt
Written & Directed by Rian Johnson
In the future of “Looper”, time travel will be invented; but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a “looper”; a hired gun, like Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self (Willis) for assassination and all hell breaks loose in ways that Joe could have never imagined.
For only his third feature film, Rian Johnson has simply outdone himself and crafted a theatrical experience that is thrilling, intelligent and will blow even the most jaded movie fanatic out of the water with its inventive method of keeping the audience on the edge of their seat generating some genuine surprises along the way. Johnson who also wrote the script has a deft sense of creating subtle yet intense visuals in aid of the narrative, which quite honestly might be one of the more intelligent sci-fi action scripts since “Blade Runner” in 1982. While never resorting to gimmicky action sci-fi clichés much of the film is very much grounded in reality, working within its surroundings and as the crux of the entire narrative finally gets revealed we are very invested in the characters. You quickly connect with everyone involved and the use of Gordon-Levitt as the narrator to his own story was actually an ingenious move that puts the viewer alongside him as we know the mistakes that he is about to make before he does and we feel sorry for Levitt’s/Willis’ Joe every time he makes one. Johnson keeps so much of “Looper” smart yet simple, he doesn’t try to wrap your mind up in self involved plot lines or riddles but he wants you to think about this world that he has dropped his audience into and make you talk about it and inspire repeat viewings. It takes a special kind of filmmaker to make you want to watch his movie again immediately after seeing it, and with this fascinating ride Johnson lets this epic fantasy yarn slip over you like a warm bath that you never want to leave and experience as we submerge ourselves in the entire cinematic experience. In spite of the quality script and the superb storytelling, this could have fallen apart pretty quickly if not for an ensemble cast that stepped up to the excellent material and delivered in spades.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is officially the intellectual action hero of the 21st century and as the young version of Bruce Willis he really goes deep into the role to pick up some of his affectations and mannerisms and the prosthetics he wears to look more like Willis though initially distracting are quickly forgotten. A truly unique film as both Willis and Gordon-Levitt both take great care in mirroring one another with some subtle differences over a 30 year time frame, the scenes they share together are electric to watch as they play off of one another as they both bring fantastic energy to their roles. Emily Blunt more than holds her own with Gordon-Levitt as the mysterious women in the country and the wonderful ensemble is rounded out with the likes of Jeff Bridges, Piper Perabo, Garrett Dillahunt and Paul Dano, however everything comes back around to Gordon-Levitt as Joe who leaves no question in the audiences mind; not only about his characters motivations but to that fact the Joseph Gordon Levitt can carry a big film, with a great deal of ease and it is easily one of the best performances of his career.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray were first rate as per the norm and the special features on this Combo Pack include a feature length audio commentary track from writer/director Rian Johnson and stars Emily Blunt and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, deleted scenes with optional commentary, a behind the scenes featurette about the development of “Looper”, a look at the making of the musical score and an animated trailer for the film.
To put it simply, “Looper” is without question one of the smartest and most exciting films of the year; if not the past decade and proof that there can be substance in a story that will still entertain thousands.
5 out of 5 stars.
“Looper” is now available to rent on DVD & Blu-Ray at video stores across the country as well as via all major on demand services. It is also available for purchase from all major retailers like amazon.ca, iTunes or HMV.
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