‘Looper': The Reviews Are In!

Critics are raving about Joseph Gordon-Levitt's transformative performance in Rian Johnson's new time travel thriller.

Time travel hasn’t been invented yet. Luckily, you won’t need it to finally see “Looper,” director Rian Johnson’s time-bending action thriller in theaters now.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in “Looper” as Joe, a Kansas City hitman tasked with killing targets sent back to him from the future. As part of his job, Joe knows he’ll one day have to execute his future self, and he’ll spend the 30 years until his death with all the money and riches he could possibly desire. But when the time comes for Joe to do the deed against himself, Future Joe (Bruce Willis) has a plan, leading to a deadly series of events that nobody — not even a time-traveler — can anticipate.

Johnson’s latest collaboration with Gordon-Levitt has received high praise for its wildly original premise and lead performances. Read on to see what the critics are saying about “Looper.”

Why It’s Cool
“Here’s what’s so awesome about ’Looper': It’s a futuristic time-travel movie in which more or less the entire last hour takes place on a farm. And that’s just one of the many ways writer-director Rian Johnson subverts expectations. This is a ’you know what would be cool?’ movie that considers the real-world ramifications of its science-fiction whiz-bang, and a film of ideas that doesn’t skimp on the action. Most of all, ’Looper’ asks questions about whether a man’s destiny is locked into place — not because the future has already been written, but because of the kind of person he is.” — Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

The Mind-Boggling Questions
“Think this through. If the loop is closed on you, did you never exist? Or did you live your younger life up until the point you kill your older self? ’Looper,’ to its credit, doesn’t avoid this question. It’s up to you to decide if it answers it. Time travel may be logically impossible, but once we allow a film to use it, we have to be grateful if it makes sense according to its own rules.” — Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times

The Two Joes
“Gordon-Levitt’s performance is astounding; his inflections, mannerisms, facial expressions (even under layers of prosthetics) are uncannily Willis-like. It could’ve been a disaster for someone less intuitive and skilled — having a director write a role for him, then having an actor who looks and speaks nothing like him cast to play his older self. Instead, Gordon-Levitt clearly studied Willis (even admitting to having had Willis read his lines into a recorder so he could perfect their delivery), and Kazuhiro Tsuji’s prosthetics strike the perfect balance between transformative and natural. And don’t get me started on Willis, who delivers one-liners, sparks of intensely physical action and emotional wallops with a quiet sensibility that singe you like a slow burn. He’s really excellent in this; Johnson has given him a role where he’s able to exercise both style and substance, and he takes full advantage.” — Katie Calautti, Spinoff Online

Bold New Direction
“The story itself twists and loops, finding its way eventually to a farmhouse in a Kansas cornfield, the land protected by an intrepid lady (Emily Blunt) who’s got a shotgun and isn’t afraid to use it to protect the little boy who lives there with her. Blunt makes an unlikely homesteader. But then, as he demonstrated in his previous two brainy fantasy features, the brink between the unlikely and the intriguing is Johnson’s favorite fault line. In ’Brick’ (2005), he interposed a stylized, noirish hard-boiled detective story in a contemporary suburban high school setting; in ’The Brothers Bloom’ (2008), he had heady fun with games played by a pair of stylized con men who might have dropped by from the set of a Wes Anderson movie. The time swivels in ’Looper’ evoke some of ’Inception’s fancy temporal tricks (some of which, of course, also involved Gordon-Levitt straddling multiple time zones at once). But it’s the glimpses of ’Children of Men’-like societal dystopia that give the movie its real weight, and distinguish Johnson’s third feature as a marked step forward.” — Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

The Final Word
“I think when we talk about Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a movie star, ’Looper’ will be one of the key movies in that conversation. Even if you’re not a science-fiction fan, you should see this one. It does what the very best of the genre does, transcending it to make important observations about who we are right now, who we want to be, and just how hard it is to be the best versions of ourselves.” — Drew McWeeny, HitFix.com

Check out everything we’ve got on “Looper.”