10.17.2012

Why Does Joseph Gordon-Levitt Look Like Bruce Willis? A Film Review

The Apollo is now open. It has spent a long year in remodeling, but now students in Oberlin can go to the movies without needing a car. Although small, the theatre, in my opinion, has succeeded in its selection of films. Last week it was Looper and Hotel Transylvania, this week it is The Master and Arbitrage. As I found solace knowing that Taken 2 was not showing, I entered the Apollo for the first time last week. Looper and Hotel Transylvania were screening, allowing me the choice between a time- travel, action movie starring Joseph Gordon- Levitt and Bruce Willis, or a child- friendly animation headed by Adam Sandler as Dracula. I decided upon Looper, primarily because of its intriguing premise and the general positive reception surrounding the film. In its enveloping storyline, efficiently developed plot, and general excitability, Looper was all the success it was proclaimed to be.
Looper primarily focuses on the dichotomy between present and future, with time travel serving as a bridge. Joe, played by Gordon- Levitt, is a present-day Looper, responsible for killing those sent back to his time to be “erased” by futuristic criminal organizations. The profession has its perks, with good pay and a lavish lifestyle, yet ultimately proves problematic for Joe upon his realization that his latest target is actually his older self. As Bruce Willis enters the fold, playing “Old Joe,” the film evolves from time- travel action movie, to an actual pure, emotionally driven film. In this sense, the movies sole means of success no longer clings on appealing action sequences or the fluidity in its occasionally convoluted plot; it hinges on its characters and the length they are willing to carry Looper.

Throughout the films progression, Gordon-Levitt and Willis are able to convey a profound humaneness upon Looper, juxtaposed to the bleakness of the distant utopia that now resembles the world. While neither character truly personifies moral integrity, each character has his own redeemable cause, allowing the viewer to sympathize with “the Joe’s” motives. In particular, “Young Joe” dominates the film upon encountering Sara, played by Emily Blunt, and her son Cid. The scenes when these three are together provide hope to the film, effectively depicting “Young Joe’s” growth from Looper to person. As Looper reaches climax, “Young Joe’s” newfound selflessness manifests, and it is in his sacrifice that vague promise concludes the film.

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