Brilliant independent sci-fi movie with time travel, brutal shootouts and other crazy stuff.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Lewitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

Budget: 30 million | Box office: 40 million (opening weekend)

IMDb: 8.4 | Metacritic: 84

Looper, Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Lewitt

It‘s a bit hard to believe this has happened. Such a rare occasion to see big sci-fi movie created by independent studios. Somehow they managed to show believable future, even few versions of future with relatively small budget, attract great actors and tell a fascinating multilayered story.

It‘s all in the names and the main name in this case is of course the director Rian Johnson. It is just third his movie, but earlier two films were really exceptional and successful in their own ways – festival favorite teenage crime thriller Brick and fun con men adventure The Brothers Bloom. He was the guy who helped Joseph Gordon-Lewitt to jump from the fun alien TV series to serious acting in the big screen (although the actor had one big previous role) and that explains why Lewitt agreed to such unusual role in the Looper.

By unusual I mean it‘s hard to recognize the actor – the makeup is really heavy and impressive (the work done by huge team ranging from experience with Green Lantern, Twilight to Benjamin Button), but the weird artificial feeling watching him almost never disappears. The reason behind it is the story, where Joseph‘s character – the killer, disposing of the mob targets, sent from the future – meets older himself, played by Bruce Willis. This actor is becoming kind of good luck symbol for creative sci-fi movies: The Fifth Element, Twelve Monkeys, even The Surrogates. He really looks good in such settings.

From the trailer I was afraid that Looper will be just usual action movie with the time travel being the only sci-fi element, but thankfully it‘s not the case. The present of the movie is thirty years from now and the future is thirty years more. And I loved the vision of 2042 where poor people drive bashed rusty solar panel wired cars, rich have flying motorbikes and Mazda MX-5 is considered a true classics. There is a unique and believable atmosphere, enhanced by beautiful and somehow natural filming style (the same cinematographer of earlier Rian‘s movies). And it doesn‘t stop there – the film briefly goes to the further future. Another exceptional thing is a shockingly creative brutal scene – I’ve never seen such stuff before.  In general the movie has this great impression of so much left untold.

But the greatest thing about the movie and I‘m sure the reason for such high marks both from viewers and critics is a much more complicated and deeper story than it looks from the start. There is a whole part of the plot which is not mentioned in Looper trailers or summaries and I really advise not to look for more details before watching. At some points in the long two hours movie there was this danger that it will just fall apart after some bad plot decision (it always is with time travel movies), but thankfully it never happens. I doubt big Hollywood studio would back such movie, and it‘s great to see the example of creative freedom in science fiction.

In short – the best movie of the year so far.

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