Kyle Cubr circles back to “Looper” for this week’s list on Cine-File Chicago


In 2005, Rian Johnson established himself as a fiercely technical and knowledgeable director with the sleek and quick-witted BRICK. He’d later reaffirm these assessments with his work on several episodes of Breaking Bad, the highlight being the awe-inspiring ‘Ozymandias.’ In 2012’s LOOPER, Johnson strengthens his position as a modern day auteur in this trans-generational, multi-timelined gangster film. In a world set in the late 2000s where the mob decides to rid themselves of undesirables by sending future versions of people back to the past to have them ‘disposed of,’ an assassin (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) comes face-to-face with his future self (Bruce Willis) as a target for removal. Johnson’s film is a modern take on such pre-Code films as LITTLE CAESAR and SCARFACE where violence and crime are modestly glorified. The interweaving of multiple timelines and the effects they have on others recalls Shane Carruth’s PRIMER. The film strongly revolves around themes of fate and whether or not such a thing can be affected willingly. LOOPER seems to have established a divided fan base over the short few years of its existence, with one side lauding it as visionary and the other deriding it for being derivative. In this writer’s humble option, LOOPER is a luscious and fully-realized homage to the great gangster films of the 1930’s and one worthy of several revisitings to understand its nuanced complexities.

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