Starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels
Director: Rian Johnson
Runtime: 119 minutes
What do you do when someone kills your beloved wife? Do you mourn your loss? Not Joe (Bruce Willis). He travels back in time, to eradicate the one responsible for her death before he even reaches his teens. But in order to reach the kid, he has to deal with his younger self (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Paradox much?
This premise can be very confusing, as there are multiple theories about time-travel. Just look at the differences between ’12 Monkeys’ (accidentally also with Bruce Willis), which proposes time travel as linear, whereas ‘Back to the Future’ proposes that with every change in history comes a new future. Does ‘Looper’ do it ‘right’, or are there major unsolved plotholes in the end? You’d have to read on to find out.
The main protagonist in this film is the younger Joe, played by Gordon-Levitt. He works as a mob-hitman. Not an ordinary mob, but a future-mob. They send their targets back in time, where Joe can easily kill them without any traces leading to him, because the person doesn’t even exist yet. To regulate and recruit these hitmen, ‘Abe’ (Jeff Daniels) is sent back in time. Joe gets paid for every kill he makes, and unlike his colleagues, he actually saves up the money.
But when Joe sees his older self being sent back, he hesitates for a moment. Just enough for older Joe to make a run for it. What follows is a crazy goose-chase between Abe vs young-Joe, and young-Joe vs. old-Joe. Naïve young-Joe thinks everything will be alright once he kills his target. To avoid further spoilers, I’ll refrain from saying more.
Regarding plotholes: are they there, and are they significant? Well, to discuss that, would be to spoil the ending. Therefore I am not going to discuss them. Rian Johnson, the director and writer of this film, has tried to produce a believable time-travelling movie. In my eyes, he has taken the easy way out. If you want to know what that ‘easy way out’ means, you’d have to watch it, but I was somewhat disappointed by the ending.
Another thing that annoyed me, was the fact that they digitally tried to alter Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s face, to make it look more like Bruce Willis’s face. This results in a pantomime version of Gordon-Levitt, with unnerving thin red lips on an unhealthy white face. They shouldn’t have done that. I could have agreed if they had just said “okay, this is young Joe, this is old Joe”. They didn’t have to make it more ‘believable’, if anything it resulted in the opposite of what they aimed for.
All in all, ‘Looper’ is a good movie, but does make certain weird choices. If you haven’t already, go see it.