By the blessed feet of Francis Ford Coppola… yes! LOOPER has an original concept at its core. No, not time travel. I hate time travel movies, especially Star Trek ones! Everyone has done one, I think even Mickey Mouse has a time travel cartoon. Now we even time travel without traveling there, like CLOUD ATLAS.
No, the original concept was to have killers get paid to kill themselves and go on a 30 year vacation, until the moment that they are sent back in time 30 years later to be killed by themselves, closing their loop and their contract. I love a good, strong contract with a strong, obvious end.
It’s the perfect retirement plan and there is no humiliation, no decrepit bedtime stories of aliments and the old days. You’re only looking at yourself wearing a bag over your head. And if you’re quick about it, you shoot yourself down before you know what’s happening and move on to your retirement celebration party and 30 damn years of fun in the sun, depending on where you decide to go. For young Joe it’s Paris, despite his boss’ pleas to go somewhere like Hong Kong. “Trust me”, he pleads.
Young Joe ( Joseph Gordon-Levitt ) smiles through the ease of it all. He’s having a blast, living hard. Drugs, girls, and you can drive how ever the hell you please on the streets riddled with vagrants and the desperate of 2044. I think it’s easy to dump dead bodies here, there isn’t a cop in sight. Still, it sometimes feels like an empty life to Joe. How much weird liquid drugs can you drop, repeat, rinse and crease your smile?
Occasionally young Joe drives out to a corn field, waits in front of a plastic mat, peeking at an ancient pocket watch, waiting for a trussed-up victim with a bag over his head and silver strapped to his back like a mule to blink in from the future, 30 years later when illegal time travel was invented. IF it’s gold on the mule’s back, you just killed yourself. Instant retirement. You lucky man.
Trouble starts when young Joe’s friend is faced by himself with a bag over his head in an alley. The kid is just too sensitive to kill the old man, something about his smell or pleading eyes. So instead of a 30 year joy ride, the kid gets dissected and we watch body parts disappear from his older self. It’s a loop and this movie isn’t called Loopers for nothing.
It’s the old adage: being a sensitive killer will get you viciously hurt and killed.
So Joe goes back to waiting in a corn field, a mule is thrown back in time, blasted by a boomstick. It’s an easy job, until old Joe ( Bruce Willis ), without a bag over his head in a cornfield blinks in, staring young Joe down.
It’s hate at first sight. These are not the same people anymore. Bald, smarter man sees younger, dumber self and justs want to kick the snot out of himself. Only it would only be more self-destructive than the usually beating you deliver to a guy you hate.
If I took one look at myself 30 years from now, pulling the trigger would be like mercy killing. But young Joe hesitates and old Joe is savvy, gets the best of the situation and runs.
Old Joe has a plan: to save his future and the love of his life, kill the lunatic boss Rainmaker when he’s a kid who is closing the loop on all the Loppers and save his murdered Geisha wife. (What did they do with his wife’s body if it’s so hard to get rid of bodies in the future? Don’t think, just keep watching the movie).
Young Joe wants his sweet retirement, old Joe wants his past, or I mean his future, back.
So for god’s sake Joe, kill Joe. But old joe is too hard to kill, the man has skills and he descends on the scalawag looper troupe like a wise terminator and whacks them all. Old Joe is fun and though the film lapses into chase, shoot, drive action, old Joe gives it the “Bruce Willis” eyeball twist and makes the future Loopers take retirement much earlier than their contracts stated. I smile through it all cause it’s a fresh premise and old Joe brings it on with style.
The turn in the screw here is while old Joe is longing to kill Rainmaker as a child in 2044, he gets the wrong picks, and young Joe, by luck or favored script-writing, manages to find Rainmaker first and his beautiful mother (Emily Blunt ) hiding on a farm near a lot of cornfields.
So while old Joe clings to his memories of his future Geisha love, that damn young Joe is making fresh memories of new love with Rainmaker’s mother, which threatens old Joe’s plans. Rainmaker’s mother just happens to be a TK, and likes to show off her quaint skills that seem strangely stronger than the usual 2044 TK.
And Rainmaker himself is something of a lunatic TK idiot savage savant. Cue blood splatter and floating objects and it’s a great third act surprise, when Rainmaker’s hatred of Loopers is made very clear.
It’s the sensitive that die in the end again, and I can’t help on liking that since I started taking desensitization classes.
Original plot, good acting, action and twists that don’t feel forced as most films these days since The Sixth Sense made quirky endings the must have-script page. It’s a great Sci-fi Thriller with a mental state that doesn’t take itself too seriously and lets you ride the wild bull and not get thrown off.
What I’m wondering, is why I didn’t love it? I will watch LOOPER again, it’s filled with replay value, a high achievement in this era of movies pumping out of every device and red box on every corner. I want to find the missing element that held this back from being a “Loved It”.
I’m thinking something missing in young Joe’s character?