LOOPER

Long, complicated and confusing in the manner of INCEPTION and MEMENTO.  It begins as a noir-style hit man drama enhanced by time travel, then throws a curve ball about halfway in with a telekinetic twist involving an OMEN-esque kid, and ties them both together at the end after a spate of noisy firepower. As the audience was filing out, I heard one guy tell his friend, “It makes sense when you think about it, then you think about it a little more and it doesn’t.” That sums it up nicely. One major problem: the lead character is dead inside, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt struggles to keep the performance from being deadly. His ruddied-up lips and makeup-y eyebrows convey a soul-sickness that takes a butt-squirming two hours to redeem with an auto-da-fe that even someone like myself who has a hard time following these kind of plots saw coming. Director Rian Johnson did the brilliant BRICK with JG-L, which blew me away. He’s undeniably talented (and so is his DP, also of BRICK). But here I found myself only intermittently involved — and ultimately not enough to do the work required. Bruce Willis brings a welcome wry humor to certain scenes, there’s not nearly enough of Paul Dano or Jeff Daniels, and it’s good to see Garret Dillahunt (from Fox’s “Raising Hope”) in a serious role. But before it’s over, you might find yourself wondering about what to have for dinner. — Jeff Schultz

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