My Grade: B-
(Above Average on the poll.)
Time travel movies are like a night of drinking, it's fun at the time but later on you end up with a terrible headache trying to figure out just how the heck these things work! "Looper" both tries to wave away the science of it, how paradoxes work and so forth but it still creates them which makes elements of the movie not work.
The year is 2044 and time travel has not yet been invented but it will
be invented within the next few years and when it is it's instantly outlawed. The only people who seem to have access to it are people in organized crime. Struggling in a world where it's a lot tougher to kill someone, dispose of a body and to get away with it organized crime groups send their hits back to a Kansas farm in 2044 where men called "Loopers" instantly kill them with a blunderbuss (which we go back to using.... for some reason) and then incinerate the body without a trace. The bodies arrive with a load of silver strapped to them for payment.
Loopers are the high-paid hit-men of this "present" in a world of a crumbling economy, over population, high unemployment and shoddy futuristic technology where cars are made "solar powered" by literally bolting solar panels to decades old cars.
Loopers, unfortuantely, live with the knowledge that they're going to kill themselves at some point. A Looper's loop is closed when a sent-back body has gold strapped to them, an indication a Looper has just killed his future self. Failure to kill your future self puts a present-day hit on you and your futureself which is nothing short of terrifying.
Our main character "Joe" is one of these Loopers looking forward to "closing his loop", taking his money, and living out the rest of his life in Paris, but this all falls apart when his future self knocks him out and runs away, sending Joe after his older
self in order to "close his loop" and prevent the wrath of his bosses.
Older Joe has his own agenda, namely to get back at the men who'll eventually send him back in time to be killed, along with older motivations. The movie doesn't take the "closed loop" idea of time travel is clearly shows us the past can
be changed. In a fun montage we see what would have happened to Joe when he "got his gold package", killed him, retired, and spent the next 30-40 years of his life aging from Joseph Gordon Levitt to Bruce Willis with a Zorg-ian combover to Bruce Willis, where he's captured by the future thugs, sent back in time, where he... escapes.
You're now permanently cross-eyed and we haven't even touched
on how memories and thoughts work, sending you older self a message by scaring your arm, etc.
Young Joe intends to stop Old Joe's mission as the two men work through the movie basically as enemies on a different agenda. Bruce Willis is looking for John Connor, Joseph is hooking up with Emily Blunt who has the wild idea of growing sugarcane in freaking Kansas to protect her and her kid (a potential mark for Willis.)
The movie also presents in it that a percentage of the population have mild telekinetic powers in this future, "I thought we'd finally get super heroes. Instead all we get are guys floating quarters over their hand trying to pick up chicks."
It doesn't present us with an overly futuristic future, still ground-based cars, the closest to a "flying vehicle" we get is something similar to the motorcycle used by the traffic cop in "Star Trek (2009)." Though we do see realistically futuristic personal technology like phones and such. The future is also presented as nearly dystopian.
The movie presents a lot of good, fun, ideas but most of the time it just feels long and tiresome. When JGL gets on the farm the movie nearly grinds to a halt until Willis shows up. The TK thing adds very little, what it does add could've been done in a more... "mundane" way. The time travel paradoxes can also make one dizzy.
It's a good movie with a solid cast and on reflection I enjoyed it more than I thought when I came out of the theater last night, but I think it could have used some more time in the editing room and maybe the cast's supply of Valium cut back.
Probably a good movie for a rental, don't see it as being one to see in the theater.