The time travel genre has produced some great movies through the years. Movies which make you think like Primer, Timecrimes or Donnie Darko, dramas like The Lake House or Frequency, entertaining films like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure or Back to the Future and of course action movies like Terminator. Looper can be added to that last category (and even shares some similarities with Terminator), but gives the concept of time travel its own unique twist.
The movie is about Loopers, hitman which are hired to kill people sent from the future at the exact moment they appear in the current timeline. Their targets always appear at the same spot and are killed within seconds of appearing by the Looper, who takes the silver their victim has strapped to his body. The reason for these Loopers is that in the future it becomes almost impossible to kill someone without getting caught and this solution is used by criminals to get rid of their enemies. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one of those Loopers. He earns a good living by doing it, but now about the biggest risk the job brings along, which is when the people in the future decide that it’s time to “close your loop”. What they do is send the future version of yourself back in time to be killed. From that moment on you know you will only have 30 years left to live. Joe is shocked when he comes eye to eye with his future self (played by Bruce Willis) and is in trouble when the execution doesn’t go according to plan.
Both versions of Joe have their own agenda and because of it, it manages to play with the emotions of the viewer. One moment you are rooting for the older Joe, the next one that switches and you consider him the bad guy. It’s something which happens several times and makes for an interesting watch. The younger version of Joe uses some information he has to try to locate his older version and through that meets Sara (Emily Blunt) who lives together with her child, Cid (Pierce Gagnon, who I thought was amazing). Because of it he seems to get to know more about the possible reason why older Joe doesn’t want to die yet.
Besides time travel, the movie also mixes in telekenesis (or TK as its called in the movie), but to me it wasn’t a big enough part of the story, resulting in something happening later on which wasn’t as convincing to me. I did have some other issues too. I never fully bought into the idea that Levitt was portraying a convincing Bruce Willis. I’m not saying his acting was bad, it was far from that, but I never felt the two versions of Joe were the same guy. Another criticism was the character Kid Blue, who I thought brought nothing to the story and only appeared at specific moments when the story needed some spicing up. Despite all of these things I will say that I enjoyed watching Looper. It offers enough action and drama. Maybe my expectation were a bit too high going in.