It was therefore with no small amount of trepidation and director Rian Johnson's mediocre CV in mind (let's be honest, Brick is just Bugsy Malone without songs or splurge guns) that I approached Looper. I needn't have worried: it's really quite brilliant. Even the prosthetics used to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look like a young Bruce Willis are seamless.
And then, just as you've acclimatised to its 88 miles-per-hour pace, the film makes a crunching gear change, slams on the brakes and pulls up into the driveway of
Suddenly we find ourselves in confined drama territory, which initially feels like a breather from the preceding whirlwind of ideas, but which goes on for so long that by the time the film ends it feels like somebody turned over to Doc Martin while you were in the middle of an episode of Spartacus. I take my replica Marty McFly Junior multichromatic PVC hat off to Rian Johnson for daring to avoid the tiresome structure that props up most sci-fi these days, but this tranche of Looper - which, it should be noted, contains several moments of standout brilliance - shifts almost all the focus away from what made the first hour so great.
Despite Emily Blunt's Farm of Lethargy, Looper is still a welcome and dazzling addition to the time travel subgenre. It's just that if you could go back in time and meet your pre-Looper self, you'd tell them to manage their expectations accordingly, and therefore you might find yourself enjoying the film more. In these pre-time-travel days, though, it looks like we'll just have to make do with a second viewing.