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By Patrick Samuel • January 24th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
E1 Films

Release date: January 28th, 2013
Running time: 118 minutes

Writer and director: Rian Johnson
Compser: Nathan Johnson

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Jeff Daniels, Emily Blunt, Pierce Gagnon, Garret Dillahunt, Noah Segan


When we think about who we are and how we got here, it’s rare that we also take the time to back-track through the various events in our lives and the people we’ve met along the way who’ve shaped that person we now see standing in the mirror before us. They really do have an effect on us; turn a different corner and things as they are now might never have been the same, unless of course they were always destined to be this way. It’s the age old question then; are we free to shape our own destinies or was that predetermined long before we arrived here? And given if either of those are true, can we change our destinies along the way?

Looper, written and directed by Rian Johnson is one of the most thoughtful films to have come out of Hollywood in recent years. It brings together a story that envisions a frightening future where its characters struggle sometimes against and sometimes for their destinies, while at the same time delivering an uncompromising amount of action and a unique score created by composer Nathan Johnson.

Set in the year 2044 we encounter America after an economic and social collapse that’s left people more or less fighting against each other for their lives. It’s a brutal landscape that also looks mundane; it means nothing to kill a man on the street who tries to steal a vehicle and the poorest citizens are considered the scourge of society. It’s really not that different from where we are right now, just amplified and in some ways similar to the landscape in In Time (2011). What sets it apart is that in addition to the collapse, 10% of the population have acquired telekinetic powers as a result of a mutation and can levitate small objects, it’s an ability considered tacky by the rest of the population.


We then learn that in thirty years time travel is invented and then immediately outlawed, although the criminal underworld continues to use it. With tracking technology fitted into every citizen, disposing of a dead body becomes virtually impossible because they’ll always be found. The only way around it is to send whoever you want to kill back to the past, kill them and dispose of the body there. “Loopers” are assassins who do this job for a living and get paid with silver bars strapped to the victims.

One these assassins is Joe Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). When his latest victim is delivered with gold bars strapped to his chest, Joe realises his boss in the future wants to end his contract. The way they do this is to send their future selves back to the past to be killed by their younger selves, thereby “closing the loop” and leaving them with a nice lump sum to live out the next thirty years with. However that’s not how it works out for Joe.

After hesitating to shoot his future self, played by Bruce Willis, Future Joe escapes leaving Present Joe with no other option but to go after him, knowing what his boss Abe (Jeff Daniels) will do to him if he doesn’t. The two Joes then meet at a diner where Future Joe tells Present Joe that the Rainmaker, who’s taken over the future Looperorganized crime world and is closing all loops, sent him back to be killed and was also responsible for the death of his wife. He’s now determined to find and kill the Rainmaker, who’s still a child in 2044, before he gets a chance to grow up and commit these acts.

As the action is then focused on a farmhouse owned by Sara (Emily Blunt) who lives there with her son Cid (Pierce Gagnon), we realise the boy has the potential to become the Rainmaker that Future Joe knows from his timeline. It’s also here the story begins to explore the nature/nurture theme and what can happen to our lives if a negative influence is replaced with a positive one. Working its way to an action-packed and bloody climax, it manages to keep the story going and never misses a beat as Present Joe tries to find a way that’ll ensure Cid grows up with the best possible chances and avoid a life of crime.

With a strong performance from Gordon-Levitt who makes us believe he’s really a younger version of Willis, Looper’s been among a handful of movies in the past couple of years that’s restored my faith in modern cinema – that it still can surprise, entertain and even enlighten with what it has to say about our lives here and right now. We may not always be able to choose our influences, but we should be able to recognise the importance of their impact.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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