One of the most buzzed about films of the fall is living up to its hype. "Looper" opened the Toronto Film Festival on Thursday and the film is earning high praise from critics.
A futuristic Kansas City-based mob outfit can send their victims three decades back in time (to 2044) to have them murdered in the past so that they won't exist in the present (it's also a very sophisticated way of making sure their body is never found). The high octane sci-fi thriller centers on Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a hit man (or "looper") who specializes in killing off those sent back in time. During a routine execution, Joe realizes that he has been assigned to kill his future self (Bruce Willis).
Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, and Paul Dano, also star in "Looper." Rian Johnson, who previously directed Gordon-Levitt in the 2006 high school noir "Brick," serves as the film's director.
"Brainy and entertaining, there is simply nothing like 'Looper' you've seen at the multiplex in quite some time and it's one you'll want to loop back see again after you leave the theater," raves Kevin Jagernauth of Indie Wire.
"'Looper' is a clever, entertaining science fiction thriller that neatly blurs the line between suicide and murder," says The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy. "An existential conundrum wrapped in a narrowly conceived yarn about victims sent back in time to be bumped off by assassins called loopers, Rian Johnson's third and most ambitious feature keeps the action popping while sustaining interest in the long arc of a story about a man assigned to kill the 30-years-older version of himself."
"In its finest moments, 'Looper' is sci-fi at the genre's best, and it will leave your head spinning," says Matt Goldberg of Collider. "The richness of the story and Johnson's skillful direction make it impossible not to be a little let down when the film breaks in two. But the fracture is a necessary sacrifice in order to reach the conclusion's full potential. The movie may lose some of its vivacity by not sticking to its strongest elements, but as 'Looper' reminds us, potential can be far more powerful than preservation."
"As it turns out, 'Looper' isn't the 'Drive' of 2012. It's better," says Christopher Rosen of the Huffington Post. "Rian Johnson's twisty sci-fi thriller is more than just a dreamy exercise in artsploitation: It's an all-out action film, a thoughtful visual manifestation of "youth is wasted on the young," and proof that mothers are the most important people on Earth. 'Looper' is also about time travel, mobsters, drugs, telepathy and the magic of movie makeup. (Kudos to Johnson and makeup artist Kazuhiro Tsuji for getting Joseph Gordon-Levitt to look like Bruce Willis.)"
"Looper" hits theaters on Sept. 28.