Looper (2012)

Looper (2012)
Looper (2012) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Bill Arceneaux (A Toast) –

“Fries your brain like an egg”. Hmmm.

Should’ve been “fries your egg like a brain”, I think.

The line of dialogue above comes from Looper – a movie that I was very fortunate to see early. In context, the line refers to the craziness of time travel, specifically all the possible timelines and potential paradoxes it could bring up. Indeed, given the story that unfolds, this line is prophetic.

Though, if they had just re-arranged two words, it would’ve been much better; if the prophets’ mind is already fried, what can we expect?

Fry this brain, why don’t cha!?

The film is set in 2042. Time travel hasn’t been invented yet, but in 30 years, it will have been. Once created, the technology falls into the control of mob syndicates. The mob uses it to send people into the past to be eliminated by gangsters known as loopers. If a looper’s contract is severed, they send the future self to the past, where he is then executed by his past self. If a looper lets a target go, the present mob will hunt down both men, in an effort not only to carry out the job but to preserve space and time. Understand?

Joe (Joseph Gordon Levitt), an exceptional looper, is sent his future self (Bruce Willis), but is knocked out before he can fire his weapon. His future self is on a mission to stop the mob, his present self is on a mission to stop his future self, and the mob is on a mission to stop them both. A chaotic situation in a chaotic universe.

Loopin’ aint easy.

A Toast

I haven’t witnessed such a beautifully crafted sci-fi film in many years. This will be compared to Inception and Source Code in that all three are wacky concept movies with recognizable cast members, but Looper beats them both (not to take ANYTHING away from the others). Much like Joe being both young and old in the same space and time, the movie has both commercial appeal and clever bravery – it’s not easily consumable for the general masses, and will make them think. Can you ponder and shovel popcorn in your food hole at the same time?

Prior to this movie, the only piece of Rian Johnson’s work I had seen was a concert film of The Mountain Goats. I had heard only good things about Brick and The Brothers Bloom, but just never got around to watching them; my focus was more on Nolan, Anderson and Aronofsky. In my post Looper existence, Mr. Johnson now has my fullest attention.

I read somewhere once that The Shining is meant to be seen both backwards and forwards, suggesting a code imprinted within all elements of the film. No, I am not saying that Johnson has achieved a Kubrickian level of direction, but the story and the way it is executed and unfolded reminds me of that kind of craftsmanship. Is there a hidden code within Looper? An almost mathematical approach certainly appears to be at work here… my egg is fried.

Is the rooster behind her the key to this puzzle?


Without spoiling anything, I think I’ve successfully recommended this flick. Next to Beasts of the Southern Wild and The Avengers, Looper is one of the best films of the year, and could end up being a sci fi classic. A nightmarish landscape where complicated choices result in horrifying consequences – I’ll definitely be watching this again. And again.


Drinking Game

Take a Drink: if you’d rather go to France than China (watch the movie; you’ll get it).

Take a Drink: at the moment your initial allegiance to one character switches to another.

Do a Shot: when you pull up a Stephen Hawking youtube clip after the screening.

About Bill Arceneaux

Independent film critic from New Orleans and member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA).


  1. Julio De Francisco

    Great review! I’m def going to make time for this movie!

  2. Can’t wait until this gets somewhere close to me!

  3. This needs to show up somewhere close to me, ASAP!

  4. Supid lagging.

  5. This movie kicked so much ass! Bravo on the review.

  6. Bonus points to Looper for having a Richard and Linda Thompson song. “I want to see the Bright Lights Tonight”

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