The whole time-travel thing has been done to death. TIME AFTER TIME one of the best. STAR TREK at times seemed obsessed with it to the point of distraction, causing fans to hold their heads in pain trying to figure out timelines, temporal causality loops, etc. But time travel as a hit man’s tool? Now that’s an original idea, and it is the plot device that drives the totally entertaining LOOPER. Joseph Gordon Levitt is Joe, a “Looper”. Time travel is invented 30 years in the future, but is owned by organized crime. They use it to send “hits” back in time to be eliminated because it is easier to dispose of the bodies. Eventually, every Looper has to eliminate their future selves, known as “closing the loop”. Bruce Willis plays “Old Joe”, Gordon Levitt’s older self. But, Willis isn’t willing to succumb to death so easily. That conflict between his younger and older selves is what makes this work. Other movies might have had Young Joe buy into Old Joe’s plans, but the idea of committing a kind of “future suicide” is as twisted as it is original. Willis is trying to kill a criminal mastermind known as “The Rainmaker”, after he has ruined his life in the future. His plan is to kill him as a child. That’s where the wonderful child actor Pierce Gagnon comes in. He’s young, but is dangerous in a “Firestarter” kind of way. As I look back on these descriptions, it’s hard to imagine anyone comprehending what’s going on, much less enjoying it. But in Rian Johnson’s capable writing/directing hands, it is easy to follow and all the twists and turns don’t distract from your enjoyment. The ending is shocking if only for its willingness to not end “nice” and tie things up in a pretty bow. One “spoiler”, you’ll spend the movie staring at Gordon Levitt’s nose. it’s prosthetic to make him look more like Willis. LOOPER is great science fiction and is so well done that it may be one of the best in this genre in years. — Alan Yudman

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