I love Rian Johnson’s debut film Brick. It’s noir set in a high school which should never work but somehow occasionally does (hi Veronica Mars!) and was made for next to no money by a first time director yet is visually one of my favourite films of all time. Johnson offsets his low budget by putting real care in composing each shot and the film as a result looks gorgeous with a distinct noir pallet.
As a result various images from the film have stuck with me and as a form of visual therapy I have made some of them into animated GIFs. Click through and enjoy. But do prepare yourself for some large image files. Continue reading
In the future time travel has not been invented, in the future’s future it has. Naturally the technology has been made illegal and is only used as part of organised crime. Mob bosses send targets back in time to be killed by assassins known as Loopers. A Looper lives a life of luxury and excess thanks to each victim travelling back in time with four gold bars strapped to their back. A Looper is released from their contract when they complete their Loop and the mob sends their future self back to be killed. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a Looper who comes a cropper when his future self (Bruce Willis) arrives and goes on the run.
And this is where my review falls apart. There is so much complexity beyond the initial set-up that has left my mind reeling for the past four days but none of it can be discussed in a spoiler-free review. The marketing for Looper has cleverly kept a whole farm/child based part of the plot completely under wraps and I’m not going to go ruining that here.
As a result Looper is a rare example of a film in which you do not know how it will end, nor for that matter what is going to happen in the very next scene. Apart from being gorgeous and clever (much like the team here at Mild Concern) Looper is surprising in the avenues it take you down as it explores love, self-sacrifice, and the importance of good parenting.
Rian Johnson may have lost some of the visual flair he had back in the days of Brick but this is still a stunning film and he has created a fully realised and thoroughly lived-in futuristic world. For every hover bike there are a dozen old cars with solar panels clumsily strapped to the roof. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis are fantastically matched as opposite sides of the same coin and the facial prosthetics were nowhere near as distracting as I’d feared. Noah Segan, Jeff Daniels, and Emily Blunt are great too but all are outshone by Pierce Gagnon, a young boy in a pivotal role that I refuse to discuss.
Time travel films will never fully make sense but, as Willis tells us near the start of Looper, it really isn’t worth bothering about. This film shows that sci-fi and action can be both clever and fun and don’t have to involve a climactic battle at a ski resort for no reason (I’m looking at you Inception).
Easily one of the best films of 2012.
Looper, the indie sci-fi action thriller about a man contracted to kill his future self sent back from the future, has a second slightly longer UK trailer and a UK poster to boot.
Directed by indie film wunderkind Rian Johnson and starring Bruce Willis alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt with Bruce Willis’ face Looper has easily become my most anticipated film of 2012. It even comes above Katy Perry: Part Of Me which is saying something.
Ooh posters! (click to see versions larger than you know what to do with)
You may notice a UK mobile phone number written on the door in the poster, I called it and just got the message “calls to this number are barred”. However a trip to www.07153902935.com reveals a viral website featuring a single film still. I expect more will come over time.
UPDATE: There’s a new US trailer now too!
It’s here! It’s finally here!
Looper, the time travel action film from Brick director Rian Johnson starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, finally has its first teaser trailer. From the footage on show it looks like Johnson hasn’t lost the visual flair that made Brick such a memorable debut.
Prepare for me to talk about this film for the rest of the year. Apologies in advance.
Rian Johnson (director of the stylish Brick and the stylish but flawed Brothers Bloom) is soon to be back in cinemas with his third film Looper. In Looper Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an assassin tasked with killing targets sent back from the future – the logic being that if you kill them in the past there’s no victim to be found. One day Gordon-Levitt recognises one of his targets as the future version of himself (as played by Bruce Willis) and plenty of running and jumping ensues.
With Rian Johnson at the helm Looper is sure to have plenty of visual flair and who can resist some time travel based fun? The first trailer will be with us in a few days and over the weekend the first images of Joseph Gordon-Levitt have appeared. Interestingly, he’s wearing prosthetics to make him look more like a younger Bruce Willis. A wise move or a crime against his face?
Click the images below to enlarge.
Looper is out in the UK on 28th September 2012 and had better be amazing or I’ll cry.
Rian Johnson, writer and director of The Brothers Bloom, has only directed one other film and that film, Brick, just so happens to be one of my all time favourites. He also recently directed an episode of Breaking Bad one of my all time favourite TV shows. My expectations were suitably raised upon going to see Bloom and as such I was slightly disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a good film; funny, stylised and surprising. Bloom just isn’t quite right.
Where the film suffers is with timing. While the film is under two hours long it seems to drag a lot in the middle; a con movie such as this needs to be a bit faster paced but Johnson’s plan to have a con movie with sympathetic characters requirs time for emotional scenes that held the film up. Ultimately this was a worthy sacrifice; what it lacked in pace it made up for in heart as while we never knew the characters true motives as the film went along we did start to care about what would happen to them.
The entire cast, Rachel Wiesz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rinko Kikuchi and Robbie Coltrane were perfect for their parts and performed well. The direction and general production design were both very stylised, something that is often seen as a criticism. Personally I think it is often a plus point if you notice a particularly nice camera move, there’s nothing wrong with direction standing out as good as opposed to being overly generic. The music is also a treat, and as with Brick is provided by Johnson’s cousin, combining piano and various jazz instruments to create a unique sound, so different to most hollywood films.
With good direction, writing, music and acting it’s hard to know where the film comes up short but it does, if only slightly. Thankfully it remains clear that Rian Johnson has a real flair for writing and directing and any comparisons to Wes Anderson should be taken as a compliment.
It’s always a good day when an actor you like who has been working tirelessly for years finally gets noticed and gets lots of work. After (500) Days of Summer Joseph Gordon-Levitt has finally been spotted as an actor worth investing in.
This year he will be playing a major role in the much buzzed about Inception playing a character who has fight scenes in a revolving set, I cannot wait. He has also recently been filming a comedy about cancer, taking over from James McAvoy when he dropped out to have a baby.
Just yesterday we also learned that Gordon-Levitt is negotiating roles in two action films, Premium Rush and Looper. Looper being particularly exciting as it will reunite him with Rian Johnson who wrote and directed Brick the modern noir made for next to nothing. Despite what some sites say this is not a new genre for Gordon-Levitt having starred in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Uncertainty just last year.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a brilliant actor and the more roles he has the better. With any luck one day he’ll be all big and famous but won’t turn his back on independent cinema.