In 2074, it’s hard to kill a man and get away with it. It’s even harder to dispose of a body. But the mob of 2074 finds a way to deal with its victims – in the same year, time travel becomes a reality, so the mob then sends whoever they want to kill 30 years back in time to 2044, where the hired hitmen shoot their target and get rid of any sign of his or her existence.
And in Looper (2012), that’s what young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) does – he lives the high life of a rented killer, enjoying his drug-filled nights in fancy clubs, and collects money for his final trip to France. Why final? Because every man of his profession (a ‘looper’) signs a contract stating that at some point his ‘loop’ will be closed, his future self sentenced to death, which gives the looper a significant amount of money and 30 years ‘retirement’.
And thus it happens that one day Joe finally points the gun at him future self (Bruce Willis) who, with 30 years more experience, is faster and stronger, and manages to escape his death sentence and Joe. Now, Joe has to find his future self, to avoid the punishment of the looper syndicate…
Rian Johnson’s movie may sound like a mediocre action piece, but is actually very well done, without too much attention to details, which is quite refreshing – life in the future isn’t analysed, overdrawn, nor are details of how time travel is achieved unnecessarily explained. What is important, however, is the complexity that time travel brings and the influence that young Joe’s choices have on the life of his older self.
Mostly, the director focuses on analyzing the main characters – not everything in Joe’s head is black and white. Killings, betraying his best friend, childhood problems – these are only some of the issues that he is forced to he deal with, while facing himself and learning of his own future can’t be easy either.
Moreover, he’s faced with a dilemma of whether to defend or to kill a future super-villain, Rainmaker, who in 2044 is still only a 10-year-old boy (Pierce Gagnon), with an abnormal talent for telekinesis, uncontrollable anger issues and unlimited power, he is both magnificent and scary. And yet, he’s still just a kid who’s both cherished and feared by his loving mother (Emily Blunt).
In fact, the only thing that bothered me in this interesting movie with many twists is Gordon-Levitt’s look. His features had to be changed so he could resemble Bruce Willis more, and this does his performance no good.