By Matt Singer | Criticwire September 6, 2012 at 12:09PM
In the near future, "Looper" will open in theaters around the world. In the present, it just played for the first time at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival.
The first round of reviews and tweets for writer/director Rian Johnson's new time travel movie, collected and linked below, all hit the web around 11:15 AM this morning and, with few exceptions, they were all very positive. We're talking "best sci-fi movie of the year" positive, and even "best time travel movie since '12 Monkeys'" positive. And as you'll find in my own review (linked below), I'm inclined to agree.
"Looper" opens in theaters on September 28th.
Early "Looper" Reviews:
"An excellent time travel sci-fi action adventure starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a mobster in the past who meets himself from the future. And oh, is it awesome."
"This is the best sci-fi movie of the year so far."
"If the imperfect yet promising 'Brick' teased an exciting new voice, then 'Looper' suggests big things ahead."
"Feels like the type of movie that can only get better with repeat viewings."
"The motion picture equivalent to a beautifully imagined painting with no sense of purpose or motivation."
"Before the movie shifts its tone, Johnson crafts a tight and heady action flick where the chase is wrapped up in fatalism and self-doubt."
"This is, in short, a smart movie."
"There is simply nothing like 'Looper' you've seen at the multiplex in quite some time."
"The first hour displays a brilliant elaboration on the noir antics demonstrated in 'Brick,' but the movie's later scenes stumble in a mass of half-formed ideas."
"An indie-inflected popcorn movie with major brains and a highly satisfying payoff."
"Takes ideas you’re likely familiar with from films like 'Back to the Future' or 'The Terminator' and gives them his own personal spin which is frequently disturbing."
"A clever, entertaining science-fiction thriller that neatly blurs the line between suicide and murder."
"Even if you're not a science-fiction fan, you should see this one. It does what the very best of the genre does, transcending it to make important observations about who we are right now, who we want to be, and just how hard it is to be the best versions of ourselves."
"The best sci-fi movie since 'Moon.' The best time-travel yarn since '12 Monkeys.' And one of the best films of 2012."
"A cornfield neo-noir... the coolest, most-confident sci-fi flick since 2006's 'Children of Men.'"
"The screenplay takes a few shortcuts to reach its destination, hiding behind the truth that when the future is unpredictable, present day is allowed to be vague. Science-fiction yarns about subject matter as slippery as time travel, however, should not be."
"The dual challenges of sci-fi are to create an engaging new world and a great story to go in it, and by accomplishing only that first goal, 'Looper' shows glimpses of greatness that never quite add up."
"A visually stunning mental joyride full of visions and feelings and rules and cheats and life and death from a director whose prior work could only suggests the heights of creation -- and depths of feeling -- he reaches here."
"As thorough and as thrilling an exploration of the philosophical issues around time travel as has ever been put to screen. It’s also an incredibly suspenseful sci-fi noir. In other words: it’s pretty damn good."
"The ending is satisfying; I want to see the movie again."
"It could have all been insanely gimmicky, but 'Looper' is instead tastefully executed."
And some tweets out of the first screening at Toronto:
"Also re: 'Looper,' the film was terrific and perhaps features the most frightening kid performance since Danny Lloyd in 'The Shining' #TIFF12"
"Representing DCA at #TIFF in Toronto & first up is 'Looper' mindbending sci-fi fantasy flick is smart, funny, really, really entertaining"
"Seriously though @rcjohnson's 'Looper' may be the best sci-fi film I've since 'Minority Report.'"
"'Looper' pretty strong. Wil hold your attention, but will remind you of a sci-fi classic from 1984. #tiff12"
"'Looper' (A-) Richly imagined and deeply felt time-travel actioner. Never moves as expected. Dialogue and performances superb."
"'Looper' (Johnson, B+) Time travel, telekinesis, metaphysics. I was waaaaaaay behind the plotting here, but will be fun to catch up. #TIFF12"
"'Looper:' Impressive! Relished myriad revelations of hidden people, objects just out of range of frame & story. Melodrama is a lil pokey. A-"
"'Looper:' Pretty incredible first hour. The rest may underwhelm anyone who's seen [spoiler] or [spoiler]."