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Looper (DQ)

6/10

Stars: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano, Piper Perabo, Pierce Gagnon, Noah Segan, Summer Qing

Director: Rian Johnson

Rather long in the telling, this is an ambitious science-fiction film that's always entertaining, but only half-successful.

Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is a hit-man in 2044 who dispatches condemned men, often 'loopers' like himself, sent back from the future. When his older self (Willis) appears on the execution blanket in cornfields, Joe is taken by surprise and 'Old Joe' escapes.

Both Old and Young Joes are then sought by the 'under-boss' (Daniels) while Old Joe, trying to prevent the past death of his wife (Qing), seeks the ├╝berboss, or at least the boyish incarnation of himself.

'There's a new boss in the future.' Young Joe is told to his consternation, 'and he's closing all the loops. He's called The Rainmaker.' Confused? You probably will be, as a film described as 'mind-bending' by its director really does bend your mind a degree too far, with a plot full of 'ah, but what if's'. Quite what would happen if The Rainmaker were killed, for example, I wasn't sure. And other things couldn't happen if characters no longer existed.

It's an intriguing concept, though, if handled with insufficient panache to really paper over all the cracks and put it across. If you can't fathom the plot, however, best just to go with the flow and enjoy the action scenes, frequent pursuits and tense shoot-outs. Willis and Gordon-Levitt are fine, but acting honours go to Britain's Blunt as a tough-as-all-outdoors farmer who comes in to the plot towards the end.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Entertainment-One. Colour by deluxe.
118 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 24 Sep 2012