We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

There have been quite a few well done time travel movies. From Terminator to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure to Primer. Looper has now joined that club. It’s a rather smart action movie where the plot hinges on time travel. Putting it somewhere in between Terminator and Primer.

In Looper Joseph Gordon-Levitt(JoGoLev) plays Joe, a looper. Loopers are assassins in Joe’s present that wait at a designated location, at a specific time, to shoot a person that has been sent back to his time. They then turn the body over, collect their payment that’s strapped to his back, and dispose of their body in a time where that body doesn’t exist. Loopers are paid well, and live a pretty good life, but it’s not all great. Part of their agreement is having to “close their own loop”. Meaning their older self, thirty years in the future, is sent back in time for them to kill. When the payment is gold you have just killed yourself. The contract is up, and you have 30 years to live your life.

When Joe’s older self (played by Bruce Willis) is sent back, he has a plan to alter his future by changing something in the past. He gets away, and young Joe has to hunt him down before his employer uses him(young Joe) as bait to catch his escaped loop.


  • Looper handles time travel well. It respects the idea by making it outlawed and unidirectional. Like Terminator, time travel in Looper is a one way trip.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis playing the same guy, and sharing screen time, works really well. The make-up department did a great job of making JoGoLev look believable as a young Willis. His impression of him wasn’t too shabby either.
  • This is a very well written movie. Don’t know the dangers of letting your loop run? Well, the movie’s going to show you. Don’t fully understand older Joe’s motivation? Don’t worry, the movie will show you. You also care about the characters enough where you’re hoping somehow they can all get what they want, even though you know that’s not possible.
  • I’m not going to spoil it, but the way the story ends is great. It’s a great way to end with heart without being cheesy.


  • While I said the time travel is handled well, there are too many variables to count on what happened happening again. They show what would have happened if Joe had closed his loop in a montage during the film. For older Joe to have the same future wouldn’t everything have to be the same? It seems like even in the short period of time the movie takes place in enough would have changed to drastically alter Joe’s timeline.

Other than some minor time/space “discrepancies” that you could argue, Looper is a great film. It’s the rare piece of sci-fi that gets people to agree on its greatness. Looper has been applauded with good reason. See it whenever you can.

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