[This is a repost of my review from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. Looper opens today.]
Sacrifice goes against our biological imperative of self-preservation. If we have a will to survive, then shouldn’t we do everything in our power to stay alive? Or is life only worth living if it’s the good life (whatever that means)? Shouldn’t we celebrate our desire to live? Rian Johnson‘s sci-fi film Looper casts a dark spell over our need for self-preservation, and bitterly twists it into a world where people would go so far as to kill themselves to live. Anchored by tremendous performances from leads Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, Johnson manages to deliver thrills as intense as the ideas he wishes to explore. However, his quest to reach a thoughtful conclusion stumbles over new characters, plot shortcuts, and an extreme tonal shift that leaves the big ideas intact, but fractures the powerful storytelling.