Country: USA, China
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Director/Writer: Rian Johnson
Music: Nathan Johnson
Cinematography: Steve Yedlin
Rian Johnson’s third feature, the second one stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the leading role, after his career debut noir-inflected detective story BRICK (2005), however his second film THE BROTHERS BLOOM (2008) has lost its traction with both the audience and the critics, in spite of a scale-up budget and cast.
I saw this film in the local multiplex, and my expectation had been drastically kindled thanks to its great reviews in its domestic reign (especially after a season mainly consists of summer leftovers and studio’s substandard cranked-outs), although I’m no big fan of Rian’s past work, and consider him as the next Christopher Nolan might spoil him through excessive enthusiasm (also, to juxtapose this time-travel vehicle with the colossally staggering INCEPTION, 2010 is not such a grounded idea at all).
The milieu of a dystopian future with a darker and more desolate vantage view is not a novel gambit it the Sci-Fi genre, the film also is wanting the budget to exhibit its ambitious future world, basically the film hinges on a quite groundbreaking caveat, the requisite existence of “the loopers”, which is a somewhat moot point (it’s rather difficult to be convinced the future criminals will make such a big fuss to illegally dispose the dead bodies with the omnipotent time machine, which triggers another more pertinent point, why not kill first, transfer later?), so all of these unsolved questions have kind of deglamorized the film per se.
But honestly speaking, if one can drop the feeble premise, the film is potently entertaining, especially in the latter part, when all the Sci-Fi stunts turns into a supernatural thriller. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has slowly but firmly established his own fan base and although almost ruined by the ridiculous make-up (I don’t buy the resemblance of him and Bruce Willis no matter what 30 years could alter a person), all he needs is a meaty role to send him into the upper stratum as like Christian Bale or Joaquin Phoenix. Emily Blunt gives an impressively gritty performance with her southern American accent (for me it’s rather disparate from her usual comfort zone, but I am no American, so I don’t have the say whether it is accurate or not), a hard-bitten motherhood is always a rite-of-passage for young actresses when they (infinitely) reach 30. Paul Dano is technically wasted in the film, so are Rian’s old buddies Jeff Daniels, Noah Segan is too goofy to be taken seriously. An unexpected discovery is the young boy Pierce Gagnon, a big bravo for him to nail the most demanding work in the film.