First Hit: A film that had me thinking about the story the morning, which bodes very well for it.
While the film attempts to draw one in about time-travel, it is the strong acting and inventive story that makes it work well.
Joe (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) puts aside any feelings he has about assassinating people because; it makes him a good living, the people are from the future – so they’ve already had a life (30 years more than if he were to kill them in real time), and it pays for his drug habit, which is one way he escapes caring much about his actions.
The way this works is that only organized crime, which lives 30 years in the future, has the ability to send people back to the past to be killed. The future world sends notice to Abe (played by Jeff Daniels), who is in the present (or past world) to have a “Looper” (one who assassinates) ready to kill whoever arrives at the designated spot from the future.
The Looper's payment for the kill comes with the person killed in the form of silver strapped to their backs. As a film viewer, you could get caught up in the time dilemma by wondering how the film explains both the past and future existing in the same moment of time, but I strongly don’t recommend bothering with it, especially if you wonder why only crime organizations uses time travel.
If you buy into the story as the film presents it, the time travel phenomena the director takes us through is used to share meaningful parts of the story. And the meaningful parts of the story are about loving someone and how that love drives us to act in ways of honor and dishonor.
The future or Old Joe (played by Bruce Willis) comes back to change his future destiny because of love and Young Joe finds love with Sara (played by Emily Blunt) and her son Cid (played by Pierce Gagnon) and wants to see them live on.
Gordon-Levitt once again shows why he is being a frequently sought after actor – he’s excellent here as Young Joe and carries just enough of Willis’, Old Joe, look and feel to make it believable. The one thing that did bug me was Willis’ ear lobes and Gordon-Levitt’s ear lobes are very different (but they got the injured top part of the ear just right). Willis, is as he does of late, provide an intelligent, relaxed performance that is believable. He’s very good. Blunt, despite a wobbly accent, is outstanding and continues to show me why she is one of my favorite actresses. Daniels in a limited role is perfectly wonderful and takes scenes over when he is in them. Gagnon as Blunt’s child is creepily and charmingly fantastic. Piper Perabo (as Suzie) is wily and wonderful as Young Joe’s favorite hooker. Rian Johnson wrote a strong character script and although the requirement of parallel realities existing at the same time wasn’t handled real well – this film isn’t about time travel and he directed this cast in a strong story about love and redemption.
Overall: The title of the film detracts from a film that is full of excellent acting and an intriguing story.