Looper shines on TIFF’s first night at Roy Thomson Hall

"It's not common yet. But this is the future of the industry," festival artistic director Cameron Bailey said while introducing the U.S.-China co-production.
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For Cameron Bailey, TIFF not only bucked tradition and screened an American film in Rian Johnson’s Looper to an appreciative opening night crowd at Roy Thomson Hall on Thursday night.

The time travelling mind bender is a U.S.-China co-production, shot in Louisiana and Shanghai, that received a world premiere at the prestigious film festival.

“It’s not common yet. But this is the future of the industry,” Bailey told the capacity Roy Thomson Hall audience, filled with a who’s who of the Canadian industry.

The TIFF artistic director introduced Looper as a thinking man’s action film.

“It’s loud, it’s fast and it’s smart,” Bailey said.

And he praised Johnson for delivering to Toronto the follow-up to Brothers Bloom, which also debuted at TIFF.

“He’s (Johnson) cranked it up to the next level,” Bailey said.

For his part, Johnson appeared overwhelmed by the reception for his sci-fi thriller, as he brought his cast, including leads Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, onto the gala stage.

“Wow. This is incredible. It is such an honour to do the world premiere of Looper in front of a crowd in Toronto that loves film,” he said.

Alliance Films is releasing Looper in Canada.

The Toronto International Film Festival continues to Sept. 16.