Kurt Loder on Looper


Looper is a very good time-travel movie, writes Kurt Loder. Writer-director Rian Johnson has come up with a nifty sci-fi hook, and he keeps as tight a rein as possible on the story's twisty internal logic. The year is 2044; the place, Kansas City, Kansas—here, a familiar dystopian hellhole. Our protagonist, a young guy named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), tells us in voiceover that time travel hasn't been invented yet—but that 30 years in the future it has. Thus, the powerful mob of the future, run by a fearsome crime lord called the Rainmaker, is able to send any poor saps who've incurred the kingpin's displeasure back in time to be terminated, their bodies to be disposed of in the past, where future cops can never find them. Things get complicated very quickly when a newly arrived victim Joe confronts one day turns out to be his older self (played by Bruce Willis). Old Joe is a crafty character with a sad backstory and a determination to alter it by finding the little boy who will grow up to be the Rainmaker and terminating him. Old Joe escapes before Young Joe can blow him away, leaving Young Joe in a serious bind.