Director and Screenplay: Rian Johnson
Do you know who that guy in the picture is? That’s freaking Joseph Gordon Levitt. And doesn’t his facial expression resemble someone? FY Bruce Willis, that’s who. That’s because Levitt is portraying his older self, Willies, meaning they are both Joe. And Joe is a killer.
This movie has a simple story but a complicated concept: time travel. Joe is a looper: a hired killer to do the dirty job of the great mafia leaders of the future. The scheme is simple: one gets hired to kill future dudes sent to the present (so those dudes will leave no trace and no blood on anyone’s hands as time-machines will be illegal), receiving silver bars for doing it, and accepts that one day he’s gonna have to kill his future self, when those mafia rich men finish their businesses. That’s when “the circle” is closed for a looper, and they know it because instead of receiving some silver bars, they get golden ones to live well for their next 30 years, which is the time when time-travel machines are invented. So basically when they see the gold, they know they have 30 more years to live and that’s it. ‘Cause they just shot themselves.
I’m not going to elongate myself in details of time travel stuff because I can understand them but I can’t explain them through words, we’d be here all day as old Joe said. It’s almost like describing a color. (Although I’ve seen a pretty cool red color description!) Well, it’s easier, but still difficult, it’s better to see the movie or some documentary, I can’t explain these things like Morgan Freeman, I’m sorry. What I’m going to say though is that the movie is basically a chase for both future (2074) and present (2044) Joe, and a chase for an insane future guy who’s controlling the cities, “cleaning” every person he thinks doesn’t make any lack in the world (which includes loopers) and rumors say he’s doing it all by himself alone. It has guns, flying motorbikes and people with TK, which is telekinesis – a condition that affects 10% of the population in the movie.
I always try not to spoil but how can I do a review and analyze a movie without spoiling? Sorry about that, if you haven’t seen the movie yet and want the surprise element, don’t read any further. Here I go: the crazy killing guy who’s closing all the loopers’ circles is a kid in present day. Old Joe ends up finding out a clue that can lead to him, a number, but it leads to another 2 different kids too. So old Joe plans to kill them all and nip the problem in the bud when the day of his death arrives (so, he did kill himself once and we are shown his progression through the years until his final day). You see, he got married and saw his wife getting killed by the thugs who came to get him. She died because of him and he wants to change that because he loves her. Well, that and to go on with his life with her I guess. So when he arrives in the past to get killed by young Joe, he manages to escape and go find those kids.
Young Joe is now in trouble ’cause he didn’t kill himself (and horrible things happen to those who don’t follow the rules), so he too wants to find his older self and have a nice peaceful life for the next 30 years, not to be screwed now! The two get together eventually and old Joe explains his plans to young Joe in a scene I found quite funny, because of the typical sneer from two different ages when arguing. But it’s really the only funny scene in the movie, don’t expect to laugh again.
Old Joe escapes young Joe again but not before letting him have the number he found that’ll lead them to the great insane guy who wants to kill everyone. That’s how young Joe ends up in Sara’s farm where he meets her son, Cid. There’s a scene I found very interesting and we only get it a bit later, but I’m gonna spoil it for you because I like to spoil things and I like to relate things. There’s a moment where Sara has a fight with little Cid and the kid starts screaming like a demon, so she runs and hides in a safe. What the hell? Is she crazy? Why would a grown woman hide from a 10 year old (they say ten but he looks much younger)? Because the kid can make you explode. That’s right, little Cid has some kind of mega powerful TK and can explode people. That and he kind of knows the future because at one point he says young Joe is there to save him and Sara (he calls her Sara because he believes she’s his aunt, not his mother, but he ends up calling her “mom”, in a scene that almost brought tears to my eyes, but didn’t.) The kid’s pretty cool and he’s really a bit strange, or maybe it was from the angle, but when he screams it really is terrifying, although he looks cute in other scenes. Anyway, because of him having exploded a guy who was there looking for Joe, young Joe figures out he’s the kid old Joe’s looking for. But he does not kill him, he sends him and Sara away and goes after his old self, who appears on the scene after having killed all the guys who wanted to find him, Bruce Willis’ style!
So he finally meets Cid and Sara on the road, and when he’s about to shoot Cid, Sara stands in front of her son. Old Joe misses his shot and it scares Cid, who can’t control very well his TK powers as I said, and starts to levitate everything around him (just as before, when he exploded the other guy), after unleashing a kind of shocking wave throughout the ground. Sara’s scared, Cid’s scared and old Joe has a “wtf” expression in his face while floating. Young Joe appears and is observing it from a distance. And then it hits him: as he watches Sara tell Cid to run to the fields, protecting him and giving her life for him, he understands that little Cid will become a lonely guy who will want to kill the person who killed his mother and all of the people who are just bad, which includes loopers, it’s a looper standing there after all . Young Joe now relates to Cid, as he himself was abandoned by him mother and all he wanted before becoming a looper (which was his “salvation” from a miserable life) was revenge from those who took him away from her. So he now knows why Cid will become hateful and a killer and why he’s so powerful and will manage to do it all alone without help, without organized mafias and such. So young Joe decides to put an end to that and shoots himself. Old Joe disappears, Cid come back to his mother and never becomes a killer, and loopers can go on being loopers.
As I said, the story’s pretty simple and there’s not much more to say. I found it an awesome movie, don’t get me wrong, but there’s no deeper meaning in it in my opinion. Old people have learned and seem to be more wise, giving value to things young people don’t, but in the end old Joe, who seemed to be the nice guy, was in fact the selfish one. And young Joe, who seemed to be the selfish one for wanting his own life as he wishes it to be, was in fact the altruistic one. And yes, motherly love has no boundaries, a mother can give her life for her child, even Joe’s mother, according to his words, sold him because she was a junky drug addict who would not be able to keep him and he now understands that she was, in fact, a very lonely person who realized she could not raise a child like that. Other than that I didn’t see much more to think about. Well time-travel itself is already a pretty good thing to think about for days or even years, depending on your degree of interest, so all I did was seat back, relax and appreciate a good sci-fi mind-twisting movie. How about you?