More cerebral than grand-standingly emotional, "Looper" earns its placement as a bold new vision in the science-fiction genre through its equipped telling of story and minimal need for audience hand-holding. The brainchild of writer-director Rian Johnson (2006's "Brick"), the film whisks its viewers immediately into the future—Kansas City, 2044, to be exact—treating it as if it were any regular present-day tale. The differences are subtle, but apparent, as the world has developed in several technological ways while suffering all the more from mounting crime rates. Johnson is straightforward and nonchalant in how he peels back his narrative, using tautly-chosen visuals and the occasional voiceovers of Joe (Joseph Gordon Levitt) to explain the ins and outs of a landscape at once new and foreign. Narration is frequently used in cinema as a crutch to get over hurdles inherent in a weak screenplay, but there are other times when it is used smartly and efficiently, and this is one of them. If "Looper" doesn't hold up to the closest of scrutiny that comes with movies dealing in time travel, it compensates with slick innovation and an enthralling plot that keeps redefining itself with unexpected turns. Throughout, one feels like he or she is experiencing a fresh spin on well-versed topics suddenly made new again.
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