Today's DVDs & Blu-rays: Rian Johnson's Looper
Let's just go with a full disclaimer right up front: we like Bruce Willis. The fact that we grew up on Die Hard movies is, no doubt, to blame. Anytime he hits the screen we're hoping to like him, wanting to like him. Rian Johnson's sci-fi thriller Looper gives us Willis in a role and performance we're able to like without caveat. Looper is set in 2044. Time travel hasn't been invented yet but hitmen living in 2044 kill targets sent back in time from the year 2074, where time travel is possible. Willis plays Joe Simmons, a retired hitman from 2074; a heavily made up Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the 2044 version of Simmons. Future Simmons has come to the past to kill a kid who later grows up to be a murderous crime boss but first he has to get past his younger self who's been tasked with killing him upon arrival.
Don't get boggled down in the rules of time travel. Writer/director Rian Johnson doesn't. He gives us just enough structure to figure it out but not so much that he backs his characters into a corner. We're left free to care about the people in Looper, not the physics.
Village Voice Film Critic Andrew Schenker called Looper "thrilling in its deft juggling of complex narrative elements..." and said it had "a nice thematic polish to set off its interpersonal drama."
Looper made its debut at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival in early September and was released in the US later that same month. It's coming to DVD/Blu-ray on December 31. The film made several top ten lists, including MTV's, The Huffington Post, and The New York Post. Johnson's screenplay has been nominated for a Best Original Screenplay award from several critics associations, including Washington, D. C., Chicago, Las Vegas and the Houston Film Critics Association.
Special features for the DVD release include feature commentary with director Rian Johnson and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Looper: From the Beginning featurette, deleted scenes, and Looper animated. Blu-ray release exclusives include The Science of Time Travel featurette and additional deleted scenes with commentary.