Time assassin keeps grey cells racing

Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis in the inventive, enjoyable Looper.
Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis in the inventive, enjoyable Looper.

MOVIE REVIEW: Looper. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Jeff Daniels, Emily Blunt; directed by Rian Wilson.

Time travel makes my head hurt. Any kind of time travel, or talk about time travel, and in about five seconds, my eyes are crossing and my little grey cells are screaming out to make it stop.

Looper seems to realise this. Or at least, if it's not about me, then the fact that thinking about time travel can indeed fry your brain like an egg, as Jeff Daniels' character says.

Thirty years into the future, and time travel has been invented but it's illegal, a tool of the thriving criminal underworld.

Loopers are - for want of a better term - time assassins. People are sent back from the future, the looper blows them away with a blunderbuss and takes their payment of silver bars, strapped to the unfortunate's back.

Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is a looper at the top of his game. He's got money, a girl, all of the trappings. Until one day, Joe is facing himself on the big plastic mat and he knows his loop has been "closed". In other words, 30 years down the track, Joe is sent back to be assassinated. By himself.

Anyway. He's faced with his future self, who turns out to be Bruce Willis, and you just know he's not going to go down without a fight.

From there, Looper happily and shamelessly goes straight into action-movie territory, but it's all so grimy and stylish, you really don't mind. Gordon-Levitt is shaping up nicely as a male lead, and, of course, Bruce Willis is always the baddest bad-ass of them all.

Parts of Looper are pretty grim - future Joe, who escapes the blunderbuss of his past self, is set on destroying a man known in the future as the Rainmaker - the crime boss to end all crime bosses. And in past Joe's time, the Rainmaker is just a child.

Overall, Looper is a slick, clever thriller that grabs hold of your tired little grey cells and doesn't let go until the very end.

The Southland Times