Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Looper DVD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
In the futuristic action thriller 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.  I saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt at comic con talking about this movie. If I remember correctly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt talked more about Bruce Willis than the movie itself.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)

Looper stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, a successful looper. In the future, it has become nearly impossible to dispose of a body. Time travel has been discovered and the bad guys of the future send back people they want to get rid of and the looper murders and disposes of the body. The body comes back with silver bars attached to it. Although the victims are shrouded, every looper knows that one day the loop will be closed and a body with gold bars means they have just killed their future self. Bruce Willis plays Joe in the future.

When Joe’s loop is to be closed, the older Joe refuses to go down easily. He gets the upper hand and gets away from the man 30 years his junior. Joe’s friend had recently not closed his own loop and the consequences were severe. The younger Joe does everything he can to track himself down. This leads him to a farm house where a young mother Sara (Emily Blunt) is raising her son. His interactions with the woman and her son will change the young Joe and his future self. Young Joe’s life goes bad, and then good with the highlight being finding the love of a good woman. She was taken from old Joe by the man who runs the future – the rainmaker. If he couldn’t stop the rainmaker in the future, he decides to change the past.

The idea of time travel does make my head hurt. Looper has a pretty straight forward look at it and they do address the fact that if you think about it too hard it can make you crazy. Even without prosthetic makeup Joseph Gordon-Levitt could have played Bruce Willis as a young man. It’s an entertaining movie, but there's more drama than I expected. In this film, you get to see how much a man can change over the course of his life. It’s interesting that the same man would disagree with his younger self. I liked a lot about this film, but it brought up issues I didn't even want to think about.

If Looper were a straight forward time travel action flick I’m honestly not sure if I’d like it more or less. It’s got other sci-fi and action elements I didn't expect. When watching the commentary, on my second viewing I started to like it a little more.  If nothing else, I picked up on a lot more subtle details that tied it all together.  I did have a hard time with Emily Blunt as an American. I found her “accent” distracting and I was listening to the way she said things more than what she said. Her son is played by an amazing little five year old and I can’t believe the performance the Director got from that child. Normally you see child actors reading lines, being cute. This kid was acting, was convincing and made the movie work.

Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Looper is presented on DVD in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. It’s a visually interesting film throughout and looks good in many locations – day and night. The city has a very gritty feel to it, that helps sell the film. The director doesn't film digitally and used prosthetic makeup, and skipped the cg whenever possible and it lends to the believability of the world he’s created in the near future and thirty years past that.

Audio (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

On Blu-ray this might be amazing audio, on DVD it’s not bad. Looper is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital sound with a layered, multidimensional score. Dialogue is consistent throughout and volume doesn't need to be adjusted when transitioning to gunfire.

Special Features (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

There's not a lot of extras on here but I enjoyed all of them.
  • Commentary – Feature commentary with Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt that is more light-hearted than you’d expect.
  • Deleted Scenes – Available with optional commentary by Rian Johnson and Noah Segan. They should have left the segment explaining time travel with straws and salt.
  • The Future from the Beginning – A behind the scenes featurette with cast and crew interviews discussing casting and the making of the film.
  • Animated Trailer- Not traditional animation, more like artwork in this Looper trailer.
  • Scoring Looper – An interesting look at field recordings, percussion and melodic instruments used in the Looper score with composer Nathan Johnson.

Final Thoughts (4 out of 5 stars)

There is a significant plot point about Looper that I just don’t care for. I wish the writers had found a clever way not to go that direction. That aside, it’s not a bad movie. Or maybe it is a bad movie, but in a good way. It’s an interesting balance where the film asks the viewer to think about things and turn their brain off at the same time. As with most films, I thought it would be better than it is. Once I got over that, I enjoyed it a little more.

Order your copy today!


  1. The cast is great, especially JGL who has been having a stellar career so far, but the plot it what really kept me interested as it continued to throw twist-after-twist at me, without any confusion whatsoever. It’s a great sci-fi flick that actually makes sense. Good review Sean.

  2. Thanks Dan but I can't take the credit for this review as Jami reviewed it. I'll thank you on her behalf for reading the review and for the nice comment!