Looper (2012)

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Released 25-Jan-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Trailer-Animated Trailer
Featurette-The Two Joes
Deleted Scenes-with optional commentary
Audio Commentary-with Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Emily Blunt
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 113:10
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:07) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Rian Johnson
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Bruce Willis
Emily Blunt
Paul Dano
Noah Segan
Piper Perabo
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Nathan Johnson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Looper is Director Rian Johnson's third film with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt after Brick (2005) and The Brothers Bloom (2008). In Looper Gordon-Levitt plays Joe Simmons, a 25 year-old 'Looper', a hired fix-man who disposes of unwanted mob victims from the future. In the film's premise we are told that time travel is invented by 2074 and used by criminal organisations to get rid of enemies because bodies are traceable and can't be disposed of. They send back victims tied and strapped with silver ingots as payment 30 years in the past where loopers kill and dispose of bodies in furnaces. Of course, time travel is illegal in the future, but it doesn't stop mafia organisations using it. Loopers get paid well, until the day comes for each of them to 'close the loop', which is a term that means that each looper kills and disposes of their future selves, distinguished by payment on their victims in gold ingots, and then retires well-paid, free to enjoy their lives for the next 30 years until they are sent back in time to be killed off.

The complication in the plot arises from the instances when a looper lets a victim get away. Invariably this occurs when a looper can't bring themselves to kill their future selves, as is the case with Joe's friend Seth (played by Paul Dano) and when Joe himself is ambushed by his future 55-year old Joe played by Bruce Willis. The film then outlines in the second act how the whole business of using time travel by criminal entities is controlled by a mysterious character named the Rainmaker. He has many rumoured characteristics such as missing a jaw, being unknowable, having never been seen and having power beyond an ordinary human. 55 year-old Joe is determined to find and kill the Rainmaker in 2044, before he grows up to become a world dictator who ruins his life be killing his wife in the future. Thus, the action in the second half of the films centres on a farm where a farmer, played by Emily Blunt, looks after her 5-year old son, Cid (played in an incredible acting performance for a young actor by Pierce Gagnon), who has special telekinetic powers which may tie him to being the future Rainmaker.

What makes Looper a unique science-fiction film, in my opinion, is not the fact that the producers made this film futuristic-looking on a small budget ($US30 million), but rather that the film was well-planned in production to note minor details and the fact that characters are consistent in portraying a world that is based in 2044 with its own credible culture, not 2012 as most films would do and which would make this film quickly dated. There is a lot of emphasis on action in this film, the scientific paradoxes of time travel are not expounded upon as it's not the point of the film and as an audience we would get lost quickly. So credit should go to Director and Screenwriter Rian Johnson for keeping the plot 'to the point' and not going off in tangents, trying to explain everything as other science-fiction films do. Look out for some memorable performances by supporting actors Jeff Daniels (famous in Dumb and Dumber) who plays the looper boss from the future, Abe and Noah Segan who plays the determined gangster Kid Blue.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    With a smaller budget, the production team could not rely on special effects to make Looper look like it was set in the future, so the film emphasises the characters instead, while making do with enough CGI effects to make the 2044 setting credible. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt required 3 hours of make-up daily to resemble his future self played by Bruce Willis.

    The aspect ratio of Looper is 2:35:1. The image transfer is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

    A very light grain is consistent in the film. Overall, it looks sharp and focussed.

    Colours are vivid from bright blue skies, red and greens in nightclubs to urban greys in underworld settings. Joe's Mazda sports car looks especially vivid in it's redness!

    There are no MPEG artefacts in this transfer, with excellent shadow detail and impressive night time sequences to show off the range of Steve Yedlin's cinematography

    Subtitles are provided in English for the Hard of Hearing.

    The RSDL change occurs at around the 65 minute mark, and it's quite noticeable as it occurs in the middle of a scene and the background music pauses also.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 track will blow your system away! I was amazed how precise and powerful it was, even at lower volumes!

    The are two main audio tracks for the film, a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track and a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track which utilises the two front speakers. These tracks can be chosen in the set-up menu. When you choose surround sound as an audio option you get the 5.1 track. When you choose 'no' in the set-up menu, you get the 2.0 track. There is also a Descriptive Audio track encoded for Dolby digital 2.0 for viewers hard of hearing.

    Dialogue is clear and audible. The audio is synchronised.

    The soundtrack by Rian Johnson's cousin, Nathan Johnson is first-class with clever effects and music to support believable background atmosphere in urban and rural environments.

    The Surround Channel Usage is exemplary. Action effects from shooting and car chases come through clearly in all speakers.

    The Subwoofer will get a workout here to support action scenes and scenes shot in nightclubs, where young Joe spends a lot of his leisure time.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Animated Trailer - 1:34

This short trailer uses rotoscope effects to make the trailer look like a real-life comic, much like the 1985 music video of Aha's, Take on Me.

Featurette: The Two Joes - 4:29

This short extra looks at how Joseph Gordon-Levitt was physically transformed by make-up to look like Bruce Willis and how he mimicked Willis' actions too.

22 Deleted Scenes with optional audio commentary by Director Rian Johnson and Actor Noah Segan - 36:50

The Australian DVD release includes all 22 deleted and extended scenes. You get optional commentary from Director Rian Johnson and actor Noah Segan, who plays Kid Blue. Each scene sequence is titled prior to showing. The scenes are labelled Club Entrance Original Cut, Sneaking Into the Belle, Outside the Belle, Pawnshop and Belle Revisited, Kid Blue Sees Joe Rejected, Suzie Never Wants to See Joe Again, Old Seth Original Cut, It's Not Joe, China Sequence - Original Cut, Gat in a Steel Box, Kid Blue Detective Story, Straws and Salt, Kid Blue Escapes, Sara Decides Not to Dump Joe, Meet Daniel, Evening Lessons, Canady and Kid Blue, Kesse Searches the Laundry, Old Joe Can't Stop, Old Joe Confronts Suzie, Abe Gathers the Troops, and Sara Walks to the Field. I enjoyed the audio commentary and I recommend choosing it as an option when playing this extra.

Audio Commentary with Director Rian Johnson and Actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Emily Blunt

Okay, let me start by saying here that we get an interesting dialogue here between Johnson, Gordon-Levitt and Blunt. Director Rian Johnson mentions a few things that get recycled in the deleted scenes commentary with Noah Segan. Emily Blunt is not heard from as much as the other two and for some reason she appears 8 minutes into the film. There are entertaining anecdotes, discussion on technical content, pre-production work, character design, set design, film shooting, locations (the film was partly shot in China as money was made available to the producers from Chinese backers and this would appeal more to Chinese audiences, hence why young Joe does not travel to France) and post-production work. If you are keen on listening to a more technical commentary, be aware that Rian Johnson has made a freely downloadable audio commentary on the theatrical cut of the film which you can play on a mp3 player whilst playing the film. Do remember that it's not suitable for PAL DVD's as these are about 4 minutes out-of-sync, but it's fine to play with the Blu-ray.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The United States Region 1 DVD includes the feature commentary with Director Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, two featurettes: Looper: From the Beginning and Scoring Looper, 5 deleted scenes with commentary by Director Rian Johnson and Noah Segan and the Looper animated trailer.

The United Kingdom Region 2 DVD includes the same extras as the Region 1 DVD, but includes 4 deleted scenes instead of 5.

Summary

    Looper is a well-acted, produced and directed science-fiction and action film which is a credible futuristic thriller. The main characters are well written and this is what engages the audience here rather than minutiae details in regards to the time-travel elements of the plot. I especially enjoyed the pivotal diner scene where the two 'Joes' meet and discuss their predicaments. I know you'll enjoy Looper and you won't regret getting this and going through the quality extras. This comes highly recommended for repeat viewing!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Monday, February 18, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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