LOOPER written and directed by Rian Johnson, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels. An Alliance Films release. 118 minutes. Opens Friday (September 28). See listings. Rating: NNNN
With Looper, writer/director Rian Johnson does for time-travel movies what he did for film noir with Brick, taking the bones of a genre we know backwards and forwards - in this case literally - and putting a fresh new skin around them.
It's 2044, and dead-eyed Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) makes his living as a looper, killing people sent back from 2074 by the future's criminals so they won't have bodies to hide. But when his future self (Bruce Willis) arrives and escapes assassination, Young Joe finds himself on the run from his employers, who are out to grab them both.
It gets much more complicated than that when Young Joe meets a single mother (Emily Blunt) and her son (Pierce Gagnon), but Johnson keeps the pace fleet and the twists ingenious. This is first-rate head-fizzing entertainment, with exceptional performances by Gordon-Levitt, Blunt and Willis - and Jeff Daniels and Garret Dillahunt, too, come to think of it.