Time gets twisted in 'Looper'

January 3, 2013 


    These DVDs were also released this week (when two prices are listed, the second is for Blu-ray):

    New films: The Thompsons ($14.99, $20.99); Cosmopolis ($24.98, $29.98); The Trouble With Bliss ($14.98); Saltwater ($19.99); Putin's Kiss ($29.95); Red Lights ($29.99, $28.99); Meant to Be ($22.99, $19.99); War of the Dead ($24.98, $19.98).

    TV: Justified: The Complete Third Season ($55.99, $75.99); Being Human: The Complete Second Season ($39.98, $39.98); Doctor Zhivago (2003 TV miniseries) ($39.99); Frontline: Climate of Doubt ($24.99); Trial and Retribution, Set 6 ($49.99); Lillie (1979) ($49.99).

In Looper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a laconic young man living in Kansas City in 2042, where as the film opens he is in a wheat field consulting his pocket watch. Another man appears suddenly and — blam! — Joe blows him away.

He explains in a voice-over that his victim has come from the 2070s, when the mob uses time-traveling assassins like Joe — called loopers — to dispose of bodies that technically don't exist.

It's a living, and a pretty good one, until the mob boss decides to "close the loop" and sends the older version of the hitman back to be killed. That's precisely what happens to Joe, who when he confronts his older self — played by Bruce Willis — doesn't quite carry out the orders as planned.

The ethics of saving the future by changing the past might be a time-worn theoretical question. But Looper brings it to life with startling inventiveness and visual pizazz, whether in a grimly imaginative scene of the effects of a character's torture showing up on his future older body, or some dazzlingly clever staging during a climactic sequence at a farmhouse.

DVD extras include commentary with director Rian Johnson, Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt; the featurettes Looper: From the Beginning and Scoring Looper; and five deleted scenes. Also, on Blu-ray are the featurette The Science of Time Travel and 17 additional deleted scenes.

Looper retails for $30.99 or $35.99 Blu-ray.

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