This is one of those movies that I really wanted to see on the big screen, but alas, circumstances prevented me from doing so. It wasn’t helpful that my local cinema didn’t see fit to actually have it running for very long either. Which is a shame, as I have a feeling it was a similar story up and down the land, and a film like this deserves much better.
Time travel movies often have a nasty brain ache effect, with over complicated stories and plot holes so massive that one could quite easily fit an entire solar system through them. The really odd thing about Looper though, is that it does introduce both brain ache and plot holes, but you don’t really care.
Why? Because the story itself is brilliant. The acting is well above par. The script is well written. It’s very well paced. And there is a key plot point that is hidden so well from the trailers, it adds another dynamic to the whole piece that is so well implemented, you are left to forgive the complexity of time travel and the holes in the story, you are left asking serious questions of yourself.
The premise sold to the audience in the trailer is that this is going to be a typical trace the contact from the future, team up and take on the bad guys type story, formulaic and seen before in many different guises. What it actually delivers is a journey of emotions. At first you let it take you on the formulaic journey, waiting for that moment for Bruce Willis to appear for the story to actually start. You soon realise that there is something much more to this piece.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s stature is growing, and it is he that takes centre stage in this movie, not Bruce Willis. The trailer actually sets things up quite well, it gives you the brief of what is happening. The viewer is presented with a world in decline, the year is 2044 and time travel, well, let’s allow Joseph Gordon-Levitt to tell us:
“Time travel has not yet been invented. But thirty years from now, it will have been. It will be instantly outlawed, used only in secret by only the largest criminal organizations. It’s nearly impossible to dispose of a body in the future… I’m told. Tagging techniques, whatnot. So when these criminal organizations in the future need someone gone, they use specialized assassins in our present called “Loopers.” And so, my employers in the future nab the target, they zap them back to me – their Looper. He appears, hands tied and head sacked, and I do the necessaries. Collect my silver. So the target has vanished from the future, and I’ve just disposed of a body that technically does not exist. Clean.”
And there you have it, the plot as it is presented. These ‘Loopers’ are named so for a reason, because of the illegal nature of Time Travel in the future, the employers from 2074 remove any trace of their involvement with the Loopers in the past that they close the loops. The way they do this is to send the older version of the Looper back in time to be taken out by their younger selves, it is what is referred to in the movie as ‘Closing your loop’. Should the Looper fail to close their loop when ordered to, all manner of nastiness occurs to ensure that the loop is forced close. This is demonstrated quite horrifically in the first third. It’s from this moment on that you realise that this is a serious film, it is going to ask you questions, you begin to ask yourself which side of the fence would you sit? And just as you relax and get your head around that question, much darker and sinister questions arise. For the good of the future, what would you sacrifice of yourself in the past?
It’s at this point the movie introduces the twist, a man of the future called the Rainmaker, a character shrouded in almost as much mystery as Kaiser Soze. This Rainmaker rules the roost in the future, a man who out of nowhere has taken over everything and is closing all of the loops. Joe (the young version) hears of this before he is presented with his next job, his very own loop closure. Bruce Willis appears but is not tied up and is not wearing a hood, the struggle results in Bruce Willis getting away and the chase begins, not only for young Joe to chase down his older self, but also the mob of the present chasing both Joe of the present and Joe of the future.
The life of older Joe is presented in flashbacks, we learn that future Joe became bad, until he met a woman who he fell in love with. From this moment he changed and they built a life together, he felt complete. That is until the Rainmaker’s goons arrive and kill his future love and take him prisoner to transport back in time to close the loop. At this point we learn the future is in danger, this Rainmaker is bad news and life is short of laughs. The future is scared. No-one knows who the Rainmaker is, or where he came from, that is until a minor clue falls into the hands of Bruce Willis.
There are three possible suspects for this Rainmaker of the future, and older Joe wants to take him out in the hope that the future would be restored and his wife will be saved, as well as life for everyone else. So, a noble cause you’d think right? Until you realise that the three suspect, in young Joe’s timeline, are just kids. And their innocence, when presented to you, the audience, is in full display. The decisions taken on from here are truly disturbing, and watching how things unfold is both captivating and incredibly uneasy. That question comes up again, to save the future, what would you sacrifice of yourself in the past? You not only watch these events happen, but it is so well done that you begin to ask yourself, what would you do? We find out why The Rainmaker is closing the loops, and you honestly, as you watch things unfold, do not know who to side with. It’s full of twists and turns, not only in story, but of ones own emotional turmoil trying to figure out what you would do yourself in this situation, all the way to the end. The climax of this movie in itself provides closure, but also questions. Was there another way? You play the movie back in your head several times and always come to the same conclusion, no. Or maybe…. It’s infuriating, but brilliant at the same time!
This is a sci-fi movie for grown ups, people who like to be challenged, and in some cases, perhaps changed by what they experience. This movie provides so many talking points, and I’ve tried to not spoil what is the key to the whole thing, because I want you to decide for yourself without me tainting it for you. If you didn’t catch this at the cinema, and are thinking about watching it now, stop thinking, start doing. This gets a solid 9 out of 10 from me.