If you have not seen Looper and plan to, I’d suggest leaving this post. That is, if you like being surprised by film elements. If you want my non-spoiler review of Looper, [looper
But in writing that review, I had to skip around many aspects of the story. Here, I’m letting loose with story aspects and behind the scenes details or insights from the writer/director of Looper, Rian Johnson.
Please… don’t spoil it for yourself. This is one movie where a spoiler really does ruin the surprise aspect of this movie.
First up, anything Rian Johnson does in the the future, I’m all over it. He pulled together a great story that combined the elements of organized crime, drug addiction, love and the hope for the future.
Secondly, Johnson makes a very interesting point about the fluid nature of time and how time travel can change it all up. From old Joe’s life path to skipped hits losing body parts on the fly (explained later), he makes it clear that time is not set in concrete. That actions “now” can affect everything later, now or even before now.
In the movie, a Looper is a hit man in “present day,” where a mark is sent back from 30 years in the future to be killed. They can’t murder in the future because of nanobot technology and the monitoring of life signs.
(But then I ask myself, why 30 years? Why not 300 or 3000 years? I’m going to presume tech limitations on that one.)
As the story develops, we’re told about how a man in the future is cleaning up all the Looper contracts and sending the old versions of them back to have them killed off, by themselves.
It’s a big payday for that Looper and he can retire in luxury after that.
(But why would you send someone back to themselves? Why not use a different hit man to off another one? At this point, I had to wonder if they do this, why would the present day hit man be so damn happy about it, like it was conveyed in the movie?)
The director said that if someone was sent back to be killed by someone you know, that you might off that person later, messing everything up.
I’d suggest, why would they even say anything? Do the job, kill the mark, dump the body. But that’s just me. I keep a lot of secrets!
I seriously had to love how that first Looper sent back escaped his hit, but as he was running, a message appeared on his arm, and then body parts started disappearing as a “doctor” was working over the present day (younger) version of him. It was creepy and pretty innovative. Or at least it felt that way.
To be honest, at first I was confounded how a message was showing up on his arm until I realized they were creating scar tissue on the younger version. Wow, talk about “instant messenger!”
I’m not sure I even want to go into the simplistic complexities of the time travel conundrums that were presented in the movie.
All of it if conjectural so it’s just fun guessing at it.
But what I do take away from the different aspects of the time travel is that nothing is fixed. It can all be changed.
Take for example how the old Joe lived out his life, as he experienced it. But then when he went back in time to eliminate the boss man who was closing out Loopers, Joe pretty much effected the change we were seeing. He was losing his old memories as they were getting replaced by new memories the younger Joe was creating. All because of old Joe’s actions.
Bad move bub!
The end of the movie was harsh… or more to the point, something I’d not consider. But when old Joe was going after Cid, young Joe knew what would happen and how it would all end, as Cid would become that ticked off crime boss.
Instead, young Joe off’s himself to stop old Joe from shooting anyone else.
For me, that moment made this entire movie for me. It went from entertaining to incredibly emotionally powerful.
He did this not for himself, but for what? Love? The love of Sarah or something more? Either way, the director said in the context of the story, there was no love, but had the story continued, who knows.
This movie had decent marketing, but the marketing never really touched on the drug abuse or the personal conflict of love and one’s self.
Rian Johnson said that marketing was up to Sony. He also pointed out that the stuff based around Cid was not that marketable, plus, it brings in a huge surprise in the story for movie-goers.
Ain’t that the truth!
I loved Looper… if you haven’t seen it yet and just read this, you probably just ruined it for yourself. But still, go see it. It needs the support at the movie theater. Then we can get a pre/sequel out of it. I’d love to see where Johnson would take this franchise.
Director’s comments: [slashfilm]