On first blush, casting Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a younger version of Bruce Willis seems like it belongs in the annals of bad movie choices. Especially when you consider that Looper is a time-travel movie, meaning that Gordon-Levitt and Willis will face off in several scenes, as older and younger versions of the same character.
But the makeup department has done just enough to Gordon-Levitt—blue contact lenses, a broadened nose, slightly filled out mouth—to make the resemblance plausible and JGL’s crafty performance—nothing over the top, just a raised eyebrow here, a subtle smirk there—totally seals the deal. (There’s also a clever moment at the beginning of the film where JGL looks in the mirror, checks his hairline, and scowls—a nod to his future baldness.)
The Gordon-Levitt-as-Willis thing is, of course, just one of the many tricks up Looper’s sleeve—and not even the best one. This is one of those films where you say to yourself: If they can just live up to the promise of the trailer, they’ll really be onto to something. I think Looper more than fulfills that promise—it exceeds it.
The film is set in the mid-21st century. Time travel hasn’t been invented yet but...