In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self. (IMDB)

Writer:  Rian Johnson
Director:  Rian Johnson
Stars:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt
Runtime/Rating: 118 Minutes/ R
Popcorn Score: Large Popcorn

By the end of time travel movies, my mind has wrapped around itself so many times that I am often as confused as the characters that have traveled through time.  I believe I managed to stick with Looper throughout and along with much post viewing consideration, I’m confident that I have it figured out.

To make it as clear as possible; imagine the protagonist named Joe was born sometime in our present day. We meet him when he is around 30 years old in the year 2044, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Shortly into the movie he is sitting across the table from an older version of himself, played by Bruce Willis, who has traveled back in time from 2074.

This smart, time traveling thriller breaks the mold of the overdone sci-fi genre and gives us interesting characters, dialogue and resolution.  It does its best to explain the possibilities of this impossible world that it has set up.

The year 2074, which is shown briefly,  looks fairly similar to the world we know today. Time travel has been invented but is immediately outlawed.  Because it is nearly impossible to dispose of bodies in that time, the crime community is illegally using time travel to send criminals they need gone back in time to the year 2044.  When these criminals are sent back in time, they appear in a field on a tarp, bag over their head, gaged, and are immediately executed by hired assassins, called “loopers”.  The body is incinerated and never to be found again.  Loopers are paid handsomely in silver, which is strapped to their victim’s backs.  The typical Looper uses that silver for partying and futuristic eye drop drugs.  A Looper as a young man essentially signs a 30-year contract and when that time period is up, his older self is sent back in time and killed by his younger self,  a process called closing the loop.  The young Looper then takes the large final payment and lives out his life.

When it comes time for Joe to close his loop, Old Joe appears to Young Joe without the bag over his head.  Young Joe freezes and doesn’t pull the trigger.  This is not allowed and will mean the hunt is on for both young and old Joe.

The movie is elaborate and complex and will not be understood without seeing it, so I will stop trying.

What needs to be known is that Looper has such a sharp script, written and directed by filmmaker Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) that it engages you until the end, and is complemented with action sequences and real life characters in a Sci-fi screenplay that makes it one of a kind for the genre.  The visual effects are superb, ( Joseph Gordon-Leveitt’s face and hair is made up to look like a young Bruce Willis) and the action takes a back seat to a very interesting plot but is present throughout to make it a legitimate thriller.  One badass Bruce Willis scene towards the end in particular brings a smile to your face.  I found  2011’s In Time enjoyable yet unmemorable.  Looper might be more accurately compared, in execution and mind-warpness, to Inception, but overall, it doesn’t quite match that amazing movie.

In the end you leave fully entertained and still questioning the awesome unreality that you just witnessed.  It is as real as an impossible tale can be told and that makes it an unusually exceptional Sci-fi, time traveling thriller.

Large Popcorn.  

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