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Fantastic Fest: 'Looper' Is the Best Sci-Fi Movie of the Year

“I think Looper is the best sci-fi film since The Matrix,” one excited moviegoer exclaimed as the two packed theaters filtered out of the film’s Fantastic Fest screening. Further consensus among those here is that, sure, Looper is a fantastic sci-fi film – and one of the best movies of the year, to boot – but to pass over films like District 9 and Moon would be doing the genre a disservice. Fact is, great sci-fi is still being made, and most of it is being made without a lot of money. Looper is one of those films.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as something called a Looper, who is a hitman for the mob of the future. Set in 2074 (and 2044), time travel exists, but it’s been outlawed. The mob are the only ones using it, and when they want to get rid of someone they send them back in time 30 years to a Looper, who does the dirty work and disposes of the body. Problems arise for our Looper when his bosses in the future send back his own future self (played by Bruce Willis). When his future self escapes, an all-out war rages between two versions of the same man, both with different agendas, and it quickly becomes a race against time to protect their present and future before their past catches up with them.

The film is brainy and ballsy, and ridiculously fun to watch. I think the opening of my review on Movies.com sums it up pretty well: Rian Johnson’s latest is slick, inventive and at times explosive, culminating in a film that challenges its audience to think outside the box. This is a movie that’s smart, scary and romantic, offering a little piece of everything to chew on. Reinventing the time-travel movie while paying homage to the best before it, Looper feels like multiple films rolled into one; a tight, hip, deliciously engaging thriller that will leave you wondering about your own future self and whether they’ll be as foreign to you as the future is to us now.”

Looper may not be the best sci-fi movie since The Matrix, but it’s definitely the best sci-fi of the year. Even if you’re not a huge sci-fi nerd, this is one film you do not want to miss. It hits theaters this Friday, and I think everyone here at Fantastic Fest in Austin would emphatically tell you to go see it … immediately.

Follow along on Twitter @ErikDavis and @Fandango.

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