In Looper, written and directed by Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a “looper” named Joe, a hitman who executes people who are sent back in time. Apparently in the future, it is difficult to kill people because of tracking technology etc., so criminal organizations use time travel equipment to send people back in time where loopers take care of business. One of the conditions of becoming a looper is that, at some point, your future self will be sent back, at which time you will need to kill them. At that point you “close your loop”, receive a substantial payday and are free to do whatever you’d like for the rest of your life.
When Joe’s future self (played by Bruce Willis) comes back in time, a momentary lapse in judgement by younger Joe allows older Joe to escape, putting younger Joe in a predicament with his employers. He must find his older self and complete his loop, or face execution himself. So, he arranges a meeting with his older self. It’s at this point that older Joe tells younger Joe about the future — that he’s met a woman who profoundly changed his life, that somebody known only as the “rainmaker” has taken over organized crime and has been eliminating all the loopers, and that he intends to kill the younger version of the “rainmaker” to prevent the death of the future love of his life. The problem is, younger Joe cares only about preserving his current day self, and he’s intent on killing his future self. A gun fight breaks out and older Joe escapes, again. Armed with the knowledge that older Joe will be looking for the younger rainmaker, younger Joe finds the rainmaker, sets up camp and waits for his older self to arrive.
There’s a lot more to the story that I could tell you, but I’m trying to keep things short and sweet, and that’s about the best I can do without spoiling the rest of the movie. Although if you’re watching the movie, and you’re paying attention, you’ll catch on pretty quickly. Which brings me to one of my complaints about the movie. It was just a little too predictable for my tastes. There were a few “aha” moments throughout where I figured things out, and by the time the movie caught up to where I knew it was going, it just wasn’t as enjoyable as it would have been had I not known.
Another issue I had with the movie was that there were a couple of storylines that I felt were unnecessary. The whole part with Paul Dano (as another looper) I felt was a waste. There was also the storyline with Piper Perabo that was unnecessary. As much as I enjoyed her not-safe-for-children scene, I could’ve done without the rest. I also felt the Jeff Daniels character was a bit of a waste. I loved the character — I just would’ve liked to have gotten to know him a bit more. Similarly, I would’ve liked more of older Joe’s story. We got a basic montage of how he got to where he got, but there wasn’t a whole lot told about the future other than he met a girl and he got sent back in time.
All those complaints aside, the rest of the movie was rather enjoyable. It was ambitious, intelligent, and well-articulated. I also felt the film’s vision of the future was plausible. It was bleak but it wasn’t too far-fetched. If we have hovering motorcycles in the future, I’ll be happy. Also, the work done on Joseph Gordon-Levitt to make him look like a younger Bruce Willis deserves mention. Although I sometimes found it distracting to look at, it was very well done.
Although it seems like I’m complaining a little too much about this movie, I actually enjoyed it. It wasn’t flawless, but if I had to go back in time and tell my younger self a thing or two about the future, I would probably recommend that I go see this movie. And if I could recommend this movie to myself, that’s about the best endorsement I could give. (7.5 out of 10)