Here’s one for heavy concepts: In Rian Johnson’s Looper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a type of assassin — naturally called a looper — whose job it is to kill people sent to him from the future. As in, criminal mobs from 2072 time travel the person they want gone back to 2042, where JGL pumps them full of lead. Everything’s going fine until he’s tasked with a killing out of the ordinary: His future self, played by a grizzly Bruce Willis. In the moment where he hesitates for the kill, Willis escapes and hijinks ensue, because nothing’s worse in a sci-fi film than someone from the future meddling in the past.
It’s definitely ambitious: Director Johnson, previously known for quirky genre exercises like Brick and The Brothers Bloom, has never been shy about breaking convention and doing something strange. In this case, it means slicking JGL with makeup to make sure he resembles a younger Willis, an effect which is partially believable and partially absurd, especially when they try to make the same grumpy guy facial expression.
But the mystery of what remains to be seen — why Willis is up for assassination, and how time-travel can be retroactively achieved — seems to make Looper as interesting as any other movie you might see this year, assuming science fiction is your bag. Which, why the hell not? Jeff Daniels, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Piper Perabo also star. It’s out on September 28.