How would you like to sit in a diner having steak and scrambled eggs with a version of yourself, but 30 years older, who also orders steak and scrambled eggs? How would you like to be Bruce Willis surrounded by 20 men with guns and you kill them all but can’t shoot and hit 2 people, without weapons, running away from you? How would you like to travel back in time and get rid of victims so they don’t cause any problems in the present/future? How would you like to hire men, call them loopers, to kill these men of the future today? Yes, we are in the world of sci-fi which allows Hollywood to interfere now and then.
We meet Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in 2044, a drug addict, alone who doesn’t seem to care about anything or anyone. We, also, meet Joe (Bruce Willis) in 2074. clean, married to a beautiful woman (Summer Qing), wealthy and happy. Young Joe is taken off the streets and is trained as a looper by Abe (Jeff Daniels) who eventually picks him to eliminate the older Joe, who will be sent back by time travel for just that purpose by the Rainmaker, the power boss of the future.
Due to a mistake on young Joe’s part old Joe gets away and the chases begin with the young Joe after old Joe and Abe’s men after the former for bungling the job.and the latter to finish the job. Both Joes face each other at the farm owned by a single, strong, fiercely independent woman Sara (Emily Blunt) with a son Cid (Pierce Gagnon) and what the men do here will change everyone's life.
Not usually being good at this sort of thing I was able to figure out one of the screenplay’s twist but it didn’t take away from the confusion I usually face in sci-fi films as my mind doesn’t work that way. There are moral questions regarding the life of one man versus the life of the future.
Aside from the expected heroics from Bruce Willis--see my second question--we tend to forget the power he has in quiet, meaningful moments. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does an excellent job as the young man living for the pleasure of the moment, and though helped by make-up which he really didn’t need, makes the scenes of 2 halves equalling a whole believable. Emily Blunt is commanding and Pierce Gagnon as the child isn’t quite as sure in his role. Paul Dano, as a not so successful looper, has all the right moves but Jeff Daniels doesn’t seem to be a man who would be in charge of killers.
The direction by Rian Johnson suffices and his screenplay is interesting and has you, well me, thinking after the movie is over. A major drawback is that 2047 and 2077 looks the same as today. There are a few production ‘modern’ props plus a few hovercrafts and a Smartvan to carry the looper’s silver nuggets but otherwise no surprises in how the world looks.