Set in Kansas in 2074, it stars Gordon Levitt as a “looper”, Joe, whose job is to shoot those fallen foul of the mob. The victims are sent into the future from 2044 and once the deed is done the killer is rewarded with gold or silver ingots strapped to the victims back. The gang boss is Jeff Bridges. The fate of all loopers is to be killed 30 years in the future and this closes the loop. They are shot with a ‘blunderbuss’. Joe meets his future self, played by Bruce Willis, but he cannot kill him. Willis pursues a child who will become a real danger “The Rainmaker” (same idea in Terminator). The child is looked after by Emily Blunt on her farm. Can Willis do the job?
I sometimes attempt to write science stories but I wouldn’t touch time travel with radiation gloves through a screen! Time travel works as a comedy (Back to the Future) or as comic book fun (Time Machine or Terminator) but not when it takes itself seriously as in this film. I always find it pretty bankrupt as a plot device and the notion of time travel seems scientifically and philosophically preposterous. Looper gets perilously close to cod philosophy about time travel. Looper also relies on the usual dosage of gratuitous violence, which I have mentioned in a few other offending films. Dr Johnson said that bestial behaviour is an escape from the pain of being human, mainstream American films certainly do a lot of escaping (like Lawless and a lot of other films). Like Dorothy in Oz, Joe hopes to escape from Kansas and learns French so he can live in Paris but Jeff Bridges from the future advises him to learn Mandarin (a pretty safe prediction). The street scenes are like in Soylent Green, people are victims of casual brutality.
The sequence on Emily Blunt’s Kansas farm is the longest in the film. Her farm is surrounded by fields of maize and it reminds me of Cary Grant chased by a crop duster in North by Northwest or aliens in Mel Gibson’s Signs or a lot of Stephen King films. No good can come of being in a maize field and sure enough Joe is in danger here when he tries to save the “Rainmaker” kid from Bruce Willis as his future self. The film lingers a lot on this farm where Emily Blunt plays the obligatorily feisty loner. There is a sort of love story between Blunt and Joe. Here we are supposed to think of the nature of love and belonging and identity but it all looks like a pilot for a TV supernatural series. The kid can levitate people and things so it looks like Omen has got tangled up with some would-be arty film about life on a future farm. As with a lot of sci-fi films deflecting attention from a possibly tight budget, there is a recurrent gimmicky fetish so in this film people can telekinetically manipulate objects and there are Batman type aerocrafts. Looper has been praised by critics but I found it shallow and derivative.