“Looper” fights for the future.
If you had the chance to go back in time to eliminate Hitler or Hussein or Bin Laden before they took power, would you? Well, that’s a dumb question most people would say yes. What about this – if you had a chance to go back and eliminate any of those terrible people when they were still children, would you? Not a dumb question now, is it?
In a way that is the question the new time travel movie “Looper” asks of its audience. Looper’s are run-of-the-mill hit men working for the mob in Kansas, the year is 2044. What makes these hit men different is that their mob bosses are living 30 years in the future. In vague terms when the mob boss needs a guy whacked in the future they send their victims back in time to a guy like Joe (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is waiting in a corn field to kill whoever shows up without question. The reason behind this is that are new tracking methods in the future so it is hard to kill a guy without getting caught.
Killing is Joe’s business and business is good. He kills during the day and gets high at night with other Looper’s. This is a good life for a street thug. Their victims also come with the Looper’s pay, silver bars, attached to their bodies. No muss no fuss.
This would be an ideal job for any street thug except the problem is that the mob retires these Looper’s when they are done with their services. It is called closing their loop. We see a live example where Seth (played by Paul Dano) has to kill his future self. The mob sends the Looper’s own self back to 2044 to be killed, quick suicide that has a 30-year lifespan. The Looper gets paid in gold and spends the next 30 years having an idea of how his life ends.
With Seth, a simple screw-up turns the system on its head and his older version of himself escapes. The 2044 mob eventually tracks him down after Joe turns his buddy over to the mob boss Abe (played by Jeff Daniels).
This part of the story could go on forever; Joe is planning on retiring soon and going to France. However, 30 years in the future there’s a boss called “The Rainmaker” who is eliminating the Looper program. In the 30-year time span, Joe made the wrong people upset and he soon becomes his own victim back in 2044. Old Joe (played by Bruce Willis) is zapped to 2044 but escapes the deadly blast of Young Joe. The chase is on between Young and Old Joe.
The past and present Joe’s finally meet up. Like most time travel movies, it is hard to really explain time travel. The best explanation that I can think of is when Doc Brown hit his head in “Back to the Future”” and invented the Flux Capacitor. Simple and to the point. Old Joe makes light of the physics behind his arrival and the chase continues. Old Joe is on a “Terminator” style mission to destroy “The Rainmaker.”
In a scuffle, the two Joe’s tear apart a map and it leads Young Joe to a farm not too far away (luckily all these events that take place 30 years in the future lead back to a 100-mile radius in Kansas). On the farm is a young, attractive, foul-mouthed mother named Sara (played by Emily Blunt) and her son Cid (played Pierce Gagnon). While Young Joe is hiding out here, Old Joe is hunting down The Rainmaker who is only 6 years old now (should be an easy target). While Joe is hunting the kid, the mob is hunting both Joe’s.
The story starts to climax when we discover who The Rainmaker is and how dark Old Joe can really be on his quest for his revenge. We also see what a street thug like Young Joe is willing to do to maintain or change the future for humanity.
Should you see this movie? Yes. It has action; it has heart. It was well planned out from the beginning (just don’t over think the theory of time travel too much and how one minor event in the past can change the future). This is a sci-fi film that doesn’t try to wow its audience with flashy futuristic designs or flying cars. With most of the cars in the film they just slapped some solar panels on the hood and called it a day. Abe makes light of Young Joe’s clothes which looks like they are 30 years out of date. The director, Rian Johnson, wanted us to see the future is not at all it is cracked up to be.
Mostly see this film for Pierce Cagnon’s performance, for being a child he dominated the screen when put up against a long-time actor like Gordon-Levitt. Cagnon was funny yet intimidating at times and borderline scary. This kid seems to have years of experience when it came to owning his character.