It’s the year 2044 in the beginning of “Looper,” thirty years before the development and outlawing of time travel. The United States has fallen into a state of disrepair as the economic situation worsens while organized crime reaches new heights. Humanity is beginning to evolve as over a tenth of the population develops the ability of telekinesis, while vice and violence become a common occurrence on the streets. It is in this day and age that a group of trained assassins, called “loopers,” thrive. As the technology thirty years in the future makes it hard to dispose of the mob’s enemies, they are sent into 2044 where loopers kill, do the dirty work and are paid in copious amounts of silver.
Joe Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one such assassin, but quickly learns that things are amiss when his friend Seth comes to him, saying that he has just let his future-self escape. When the futuristic mobsters have no need for a looper, they send back their future self to be killed – an act referred to as “closing the loop.” Seth and his future self are promptly found and killed, but it’s not long after that Joe’s own future (Bruce Willis) self is sent back and escapes. The present and the future meet, and Joe is told that in the future, a man by the name of the Rainmaker has taken over the mob, and is slowly closing the loops. The future Joe has come back to kill the young mobster, but only has a number and a map leading him there.
The concept of time travel is used frequently in movies, and as such, can be difficult to put a fresh spin on. “Looper” succeeds in doing so, however, creating an intriguing opening which introduces its talented cast. The potential for a great plotline is evident from the beginning, and it follows through with it until about halfway through, at which point the action becomes cliché and altogether strange.
It should be said up front that the cinematography of “Looper” was excellent, with little to no complaint to be made about the camera, effects, or acting – it was visually appealing in every way. Unfortunately, the plot eventually gave way to a number of clichéd concepts, such as a typically movie romance and spacing issues, as well as many scenes that felt overly dramatic or inappropriate for the overall flow of the movie.
The film has a distinct lack of development at times, particularly with the concept of telekinesis. In the beginning, it is introduced as a means for men to hit on women at the clubs, with little purpose otherwise, despite its incredible nature. Without spoiling anything, it takes on a greater meaning near the end, but the sudden jump from pick-up line to incredible ability is jarring, and will likely leave the viewer unsatisfied. Several key points throughout the movie were also glossed over, building up the tension only to completely skip the moment with little afterthought.
While “Looper” certainly falls short of being considered the best of the best, its many redeeming characteristics make it a memorable experience for anyone who loves movies. In a dry spell of movies as of late, “Looper” is satisfying enough to last movie-lovers until they are able to make it to other releases of the season, such as “Skyfall” or “Taken 2.”