Where This Meets That
By the year 2074, time travel is possible but outlawed and, therefore, only practiced by outlaws. Crime investigation technologies in 2074 make it impossible to get away with murder, so crime rings send marked victims, hooded and bound, thirty years back in time where an assassin – called a “looper” – waits to kill them and disperse with the bodies.
Every looper ends his looping career by killing his future self, or “closing his loop”. Because victims are hooded, the looper only knows when he has closed his loop when the victim carries a back full of gold bars; a sort of looper pension.
A creepily prostheticized Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Joe, a looper who dreams of moving to France once his loop is closed. His dreams change when his future self – “Old Joe”, played by Bruce Willis – arrives to the kill unhooded and thus recognizable to the younger.
Without going too far into details, the general idea from there is that two different versions of Joe are pitted against a rising tyrant known as the Rainmaker. In the world of 2044, the Rainmaker is just a boy, but he represents a major pivot point in the film. Old Joe wants to destroy the Rainmaker to preserve his own past, in which he found love and marriage. Young Joe wants to own his own determination.
Does the fact that Old Joe is in fact the same Joe but older secure Young Joe to a destined life path? Does Young Joe owe anything to Old Joe to preserve the life Old Joe lived? If Young Joe doesn’t listen to Old Joe, then was Old Joe’s past even real to begin with?
In the end, life shapes us. We all become “different people” as we age. On a Friday night, I don’t do what I would have done twenty years ago. In fact, I’m not sure I would even like myself at some earlier phases in my life if I met that younger self in separate form. But would I at least still understand him?
The theme has been explored in some other pretty good films in recent years, like indy darling Moon and the lesser known Another Earth, but Looper does a good job of packaging it into an intelligent shoot’em-up sci-fi thriller.
The film twists and turns, as any good time-travel film should, but it never fully astounds. Overall, Looper is a worthy watch but probably falls a little short of its potential.
Looper score: 3.5 Falcone Rings