Here Is Some Money, Go Kill Yourself: Looper
In Rian Johnson’s Looper, time travel is strictly outlawed in the future. In this dystopian forthcoming existence, Big Brother is so omnipresent it is almost impossible to kill someone and get away with it, which of course means there is much money to be made here. Would-be killers send their victims back in time to be murdered in the past by hitmen without all the state cameras watching. These hatchet men are called Loopers. Our main character Joe Simmins (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who’s neck deep in this business to finance his opulent lifestyle, admits, “The work doesn’t attract the most forward thinking individuals.” These folks really have to “live in the now” to ignore how their actions will devastate timelines and possibly destroy all of creation.
A Looper is paid on delivery, and apparently it’s quite a paycheck. Still, their careers are not permanent. Every Looper’s last victim is the same: themselves. That is to say, the older version of the Looper is sent back in time to be killed by their younger counterpart (called, “closing your loop”).
This seems like a bit of a stretch because most people aren’t suicidal, hitman or not. Why not just have another Looper do the job? Even a cold-blooded killer is likely to hesitate, and that’s exactly what one of Joe’s colleagues, Seth (Paul Dano) does in that situation. His older self escapes murder by his younger hand, which freaks out his employers, who apparently never imagined a criminal could choose to run with the money instead of killing themselves. Not much later in the movie, Joe will have a similar problem with his older self (enter Bruce Willis).
You have to give this one props for originality. It is unquestionably unique, and a welcome effort during a lull of more recent sci-fi releases. It doesn’t answer some basic questions if you pay really close attention, but it’s still a lot of fun to watch. And Looper does go in a rather unexpected direction, and that’s always appreciated. Ultimately, what the picture lacks in logic it more than makes up for in ambition.
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