*WARNING: There may be some spoilers in the synopsis. It’s hard to completely avoid them with this kind of movie*
It is 2044. Time travel hasn’t been invented yet. But 30 years in the future, it has. It has also been made illegal. That doesn’t stop future mobsters from using it. You see, it’s also almost impossible to dispose of bodies in the future.
To get around the latter, the mobsters sent Abe (Jeff Daniels) back to the past. Abe employs loopers. Loopers are given a set location, along with a specific time at which to be at that location. As soon as the time comes, a bound and hooded person appears. The looper’s job is to shoot whoever appears and dispose of the body. In exchange, there is a bounty of silver on the victim. The loopers have exchanges where they trade in the silver for cash. The only catch is, eventually, you have to close your loop. Which is to say, your future self comes to your execution point. This, essentially, gives you another 30 years to live out your life. Only, you don’t know you’ve closed your loop until you collect your bounty. This time, it’s a cache of gold. If you fail to close your loop, for whatever reason, well, Abe and his boys don’t take too kindly to that. As Seth (Paul Dano) finds out.
A new boss, the Rainmaker, comes to power in the future. No one knows much about The Rainmaker, including who he is or how he came to power. And he’s closing all the loops.
Joe (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is a looper. Joe has been stashing half his silver, for when it comes time for him to get out of the game. When “old” Joe (Bruce Willis) comes through, he manages to escape “young” Joe. (This puts us into a little bit of a time travel loop, which, if you don’t pay attention, can get a little confusing.) Old Joe tells young Joe to get out of town. Go hide somewhere. Only, young Joe panics. He goes to collect his silver, where Abe’s top henchman, Kid Blue (Noah Segan) is already hauling it out to his car.
Old Joe is on a mission. He’s out to stop the Rainmaker before he can take over everything. Old Joe has narrowed the options to 3 possible candidates, and is trying to put an end to his reign before it starts. Young Joe is eager to close his loop and clear his name. Now it’s a battle between who he is and who he will be. Young Joe waits at the home of Sara (Emily Blunt) and her son, Cid (Pierce Gagnon). He knows his future self will eventually show up to complete his task, thus providing him the opportunity to close his loop.
There have been plenty of time travel movies done. And most of them have the same logic problems that arise with time travel. Looper does a decent job of putting a new spin on the genre. It’s as original a plot as can be done, given the plethora of competition out there. But, as with all the movies of this kind, a bit of reality must be suspended to buy into the movie.
The story has plenty of action and suspense. The thought of Joe hunting down children to protect the future isn’t exactly a pleasant one. But it’s well done and necessary to the plot. Young Joe must consider his future versus the future of the young Rainmaker. He is also faced with the consequences of the current actions of his future self.
The acting is expertly done. Especially if you consider that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is playing the role of Bruce Willis playing a role. (This is where time travel gets tricky.) The only thing that really threw me was JGL in Bruce Willis makeup. You have to give props to the makeup department for doing such an excellent job of transforming him. Bruce Willis is as expected. And one could almost, almost, make an argument that this is yet another Die Hard sequel. (Only, one that is more well done than some of the others in that franchise.)
Looper is a thinking movie, in that you have to somewhat immerse yourself in the film and pay attention. Otherwise, a lot won’t make sense. It’s a smart movie. And, without giving too much away, some won’t be happy with the ending. But don’t write this movie off. It’s definitely worth the price of admission.