Looper is where mobsters and sci-fi meet, a smart time-traveling action movie. Set in the near future, in a gritty city somewhere in the mid-West, the mob of the further future is sending its enemies back in time to be eliminated. To do the dirty work, they employ a band of low-level hitmen called “loopers.” All the loopers have to do is show up at the designated spot at the designated time and fire their guns when the bound and hooded target arrives from the future. Then they collect their silver from the body and dispose of the evidence. An easy job — until the target is yourself.
All of the loopers know that eventually their future selves will be rounded up and sent back for them to kill. It’s the mob’s way of eliminating the evidence and it’s called closing your loop. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is one of my favorite young actors, and Bruce Willis, who’s no slouch himself, play Joe — a looper who is squirreling away his money to move to France when his “loop is closed” so he can live out the rest of his days presumably sipping cafe au laits and romancing french women. Both performances are great, although I’m not sure Gordon-Levitt needed the intense make-up job that made him look like Willis. I spent a good portion of the beginning of the movie going “what’s wrong with his nose?”
When it comes time for young Joe to close his loop, old Joe has other ideas. Over the past 30 years, things have changed for him. He didn’t go to France. He went to China — on the advice of Abe, the mob boss from the future who manages the loopers in the past — played by a scene stealing Jeff Daniels. He tells Joe, “I’m from the future. You should go to China.” So Joe goes to China and he falls in love and he doesn’t want to give that up. So when he’s sent back to be killed, old Joe strikes first and escapes. Now old Joe and young Joe are in the same time period. Young Joe vows to hunt old Joe down because he’s seen the gruesome end loopers meet when they don’t close their loop.
This is where the movie gets a little bogged down and you wish you could speed up time. Young Joe is chasing old Joe. Old Joe is trying to track down a mysterious and malicious mob boss who is just a toddler at this point in time. Young Joe ends up on a farm with Emily Blunt. But I wouldn’t let that stop you from seeing it. Looper is a stylish, intelligent thriller with fine performances from the entire cast. If you’re in the mood for some sci-fi action, it’s worth your time.