Please note the following may contain things that count as spoilers and a sexual term that you probably didn’t need or want to know – blame Rian Johnson for naming after character after a term used by Laurell K Hamilton that you just can’t boil out of your brain.
‘Looper’ is set in the year 2044 and young men work as “loopers” for a crime syndicate. Loopers kill people who are sent back in time – the victims are sent back tied up and with a bag over their head, the payment for killing them is silver bars strapped to their body. When a looper is retired their future self is sent back thirty years as their target.
Simple enough premise but the plot holes are already becoming obvious; the film relies on the audience accepting three things unquestioningly:
1) That organised crime is stupid enough to think that asking someone to kill themselves is always going to go well.
2) That “in the future you can’t get rid of a body” as everything is tracked but somehow sending the soon-to-be-body back in time doesn’t get noticed!?!
3) The time is fluid, for example the old version that is sent back is only one possible version of that person’s life and failing to kill them, then them running amok, will change things but somehow not cause a world-ending paradox.
There are then an additional two things that are assumed of the audience:
4) That whoever-the-target-audience is will be ok with a torture screen where you only see the historic effects (but the at-the-time implications are really stomach churningly gross) and then be prepared to watching two dull people make puppy dog eyes at each other for several boringly long minutes of inaction. In my experience torture scenes and slowly developing ‘love’ don’t tend to pull the same audience.
5) That calling the bad guy “The Rainmaker” with no explanation isn’t stupid, distracting or flat out amusing.
The Rainmaker term is all the more amusing because I remember the phrase from one of Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake books, ‘Incubus Dreams’. This book was one of the ones after the series had moved away from semi-detective horror and now just seemed to be lots of bonking with some monster killing to pass the time.
The LKH definition of rainmaker is a woman who “squirts” during sex. Which is not a term that I ever felt the need to know – I don’t need to know if my best friend does that, much less a fictional character! So ‘Looper’ saying the child is going to grow up to be THE Rainmaker just made me giggle.
Talking of “the child”, he was blatantly evil and should have been killed. I can’t even work out how this was up for debate!
I am aware that the film did well at the boxoffice and that it is liked by a lot of people, it just didn’t really work for me. I am also aware that the writer /director said he didn’t want to get bogged down in the time travel stuff and that it is “character-based movie that is more about how these characters dealt with the situation”- I just didn’t care about the characters, none of them were likeable or that well-acted.
‘Looper’ can be summed up and dismissed very simply, Joe should have watched the first three Terminator films and realised that time traveling to kill a child never goes well. Also that no matter what you try to do to change your fate it still happens – at least in the movies!
As a parting comment, if I had a time machine I would use it to convince Joseph Gordon-Levitt to find a career outside of acting right after ‘10 Things I Hate About You’
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