I saw my future self the other day. He just popped out from the toilets and was wearing Hula Hoops as rings. I knew it was me because of the name badge he was wearing. I’d apparently spent the next thirty years working for Funky Chicken Take Outs. So I closed this loop by hitting my future self in the face with a roast chicken. I’ll work for Burger Dime instead and change my future! Looper is a bit like this, but with guns instead of chicken.
In 2044 time travel hasn’t been invented yet, but in thirty years it will have been. It’s the perfect dodgy device to send bodies back to the past for disposal so they can’t be tracked. And the people in charge of disposing of these bodies in the present are Loopers. They get to carry these huge shotgun type guns to blow away their targets. It’s a simple system with a good deal of money in it, just don’t let your target get away. Unfortunately for our hero Joe (Joseph Gordon-Leviit) he does just that and his future self (Bruce Willis) is on a hunt for the evil Rainmaker who has yet to begin his evil plans in the present time. Now it is a race against time for poor Joe who has to murder the Willis version of himself before the organisation he works for gets to him. It’s always yourself who causes your biggest problems.
The concept is a great take on the time travel genre though a lot of information is brushed over to keep the story flying. 10% of the population can levitate objects, but we never know why. Bodies in the future are hard to dispose of, we never know why. A few extra minutes to expose some of these vague elements would have been welcome, but there is enough on-screen chaos to accept these plot points. The world goes to hell, anything can happen. The time travelling acts as more of a back drop to the character driven piece it becomes mid way in.
When the film hits the field the frantic momentum comes to a stop and instead of sci-fi chases and present/future showdowns we get Levitt Joe playing body-guard while he waits for Willis Joe to make his way over. It’s initially jarring to see such feverish progression evaporate, but the deep character building of Levitt Joe, farm girl Sara (Emily Blunt), super smart kid Cid (Pierce Gagnon) is immensely satisfying and brings a sense of weight to what Willis Joe is trying to do. Neither Joe comes across as completely good, both sharing selfish traits, but nor do they come across as completely evil. This is a bleak tale about two guys doing what they believe to be right. It leaves a lasting impression and makes time travelling appear not quite as joyous as Marty would have us believe.
Looper isn’t as manic as Twelve Monkeys nor delves into the possibilities of time travel in the way Back To The Future does, but it does show how tough it is for the present to deal with all these damn future men. It all just fries your brain like an egg.