LOOPER (MA 15+)
Where: On general release from September 27
Preview: Stephen A Russell
Sci-fi geeks still hurting from the bitter disappointment of Prometheus can take solace in Looper. Writer/director Rian Johnson has crafted a super-smart thriller starring sometime collaborator Joseph Gordon-Levitt - who also appeared in his previous films Brick and The Brothers Bloom - as future assassin Joe.
Known as a looper, he hides in his own past (the year 2044) clearing up loose ends for a crime syndicate even further in the future. Joe racks up the blocks of silver attached to each unfortunate victim sent back in time, bumping them off in particularly old-school fashion with a blunderbuss and a trip to a big furnace.
Things start to get complicated when fellow looper Seth (Ruby Sparks’ Paul Dano) is faced with the enforced end of his career by having to pop off his older self.
He goes on the run instead, and it’s not too long before Joe is faced with the same dilemma, with his older self portrayed by an on-form Bruce Willis.
The plot soon gets pretty head-scratching as the time paradoxes kick into high gear, but never in a way that flummoxes the viewer.
A deliciously evil scene of torture inflicted on a younger soul affecting his future body is warped genius, with the sporadic violence realistic enough to carry genuine weight.
Levitt [Inception, The Dark Knight Rises] just keeps getting better, almost stealing the show from Willis until the latter gets his Die Hard on in the frenetic third act.
The Newsroom’s Jeff Daniels turns in a fantastic cameo as the crime boss running the loopers, and Noah Segan entertains as his unlucky henchman.
Emily Blunt jumped at the chance to sign on, and delivers as feisty farmer Sara who’ll stop at nothing to protect her son Cid.
It’s the latter’s performance by Pierce Gagnon that really stuns. He skips from adorabe to super-intelligent, delivering a terrifying turn that screams of The Omen.
Johnson has forged clever, grown-up sci-fi with stunning cinematography, a razor sharp script and just enough tech while keeping things grounded. It’s a timeless world not unlike seminal genre hero, Blade Runner.