This was one of the best written and most tightly plotted time-travel stories I've ever seen. It was thought-provoking and stunning, and if you're into science fiction, and time travel stories in particular, go see this -- like right now. The one caveat is that it is a hard R-rated film, with lots of graphic violence, language, adult themes, and some nudity.
The measure of a good science fiction story, in my opinion, are the details. The little pieces that make everything fit into place even if they are at a nearly subconscious level. That's one of the things this movie does so well. Every detail mattered; from the weapons used and why, to the reasons for the time travel, to the solar power-converted cars with strange external wires. There were no missed elements or plot threads left dangling. There were no irrelevant scenes or jumps in logic. I couldn't even find any plot holes, and that's impressive.
There was an exposition scene early on that mentioned how the weapons used by the Loopers worked, and I didn't pay it much attention at the time. Later on I wished I had, because there was a great action sequence that used that set-up perfectly. The movie was littered with set-ups like that, and they were all paid off. Small moments had impact, and the emotional weight behind those pay-offs were just gut-wrenching. In fact there were at least two moments that made me gasp out loud, I was that engrossed in the story.
If those details were the only things about this movie that worked, I would've been happy. But they also got some really good actors doing some really good work. Bruce Willis was his usual awesome self, with a little bit more of the manic/tragic action man thing going than usual. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young Bruce Willis, down to mannerisms and an excellent make-up, and delivers another deep and likable performance with a character that isn't particularly likable. Emily Blunt also did a great job with the heroine, who was flawed but extremely sympathetic. Jeff Daniels, Piper Perabo, Paul Dano, and Garret Dillahunt all showed up as some nice supporting characters that added some great background depth to the world.
I guess I could go on, but then I might have to get into the plot which would be a spoilery crime. When a movie delivers on all levels like this one did, with the writing, directing, acting, special effects, and make-up all excellent, it's not surprising the result is so special. Add to that the fact that this is a nearly flawless time travel story, which is almost unheard of, and I'm kind of at a loss for the right kind of praise.
I think I already consider Looper a personal favorite, and I know it'll be added to my collection when it arrives on DVD.
4 out of 4 Time line loop-de-loops.