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The Kidd Vs. LOOPER


LOOPER has just about everything you want in a movie. It has time travel and chase sequences and complicated characters and complex moral dilemmas and science fiction and action and romance and violence and revenge and mystery. Just about the only thing it doesn’t have is nudity, and… no, wait… it has that, too. Damn, let me go ahead and correct myself then. LOOPER is everything you want to see in a movie, and unlike something like DETENTION which just takes all of those elements and throws them together randomly into a giant clusterfuck, Rian Johnson has pieced them all together masterfully and, more importantly, purposefully in this instant classic.

Taking place in the year 2044, the film revolves around the titular profession of assassins who dispose of bodies sent from the future not wanted around anymore by the criminal underworld. In the future when time travel will have been invented, it is so illegal that only those organizations with no regards for the law as it is use it to their advantage. That’s where Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) fits into the equation. Here’s a guy with a job that he sees as a means to an end. Each new target that appears hooded and bound in front of him at the scheduled time is met with a blunderbuss blast (think the future equivalent of a shotgun) to the chest and a trip to the incinerator. For his efforts, Joe is given a nice share of silver, which he’s been saving up in the hopes of getting out one day and living the rest of his life over in France.

But, in the future, there’s a new boss called The Rainmaker wiping out all the criminal syndicates. That involves eliminating ties between the future and the past, otherwise known as “closing your loop,” in which present self kills future self. For this, you get a golden payday and the knowledge that you have 30 years left in your life before the time comes when you’re sent back to get whacked. More and more loops are being closed lately, and Joe begins to wonder what he’d do if he showed up in front of himself. Would he let his loop run and deal with the repercussions, trying to escape from those trying to tie up the loose ends as well? Or would he get the job done and accept the hand of fate he’s been dealt? He’ll find out when old Joe (Bruce Willis) makes the trip back, ready to fight for his life, or at least to change the path his life took from the point of their encounter forward.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is outstanding here, essentially playing a younger variation of Bruce Willis as present Joe. He’s got his mannerisms and some of his facial expressions down pat, but it’s really his speech delivery that marks this performance as brilliant. JGL has adopted that very distinct and intense quiet whisper that Willis has owned over the course of his career, and, between this attention to detail and a slight modification to his appearance, Gordon-Levitt does more than just pass for Willis… he’s able to become him.

However, present Joe and older Joe are two completely separate and unique characters, which is a big reason why LOOPER is so GOOD. They aren’t operating on the same page at all, even though they’re the same person. They have their own selfish interests to protect, and, in doing so, they threaten the path that the other is on. Young Joe just wants to turn over his loop, square everything with the syndicate and get on with living the rest of his life which will eventually bring him back to this very point in time where he’ll have to confront himself once more. He’s driven by the chance to keep living, to have his time to experience whatever the future holds, not to be penalized by the wrench future Joe is now throwing into the plans. If future Joe continues to run, the only way to bring him in is to cause severe permanent damage to present Joe that’ll ripple through the time-space continuum and effect the elder version.

On the other hand, future Joe is guided by love. He’s driven by the memories he has that are threatened to exist no longer in the event that present Joe heads off on a different life path. He has a goal to change his outcome, to redirect his life, to alter the future. However, that’s at odds with present Joe, because it would indicate that he doesn’t really have a choice in how his life is laid out. This is really solid work by Willis, who builds an emotional basis for his character in such a short time that you feel sympathetic to what he needs to do, no matter how horrible, in order to complete his task at hand. You feel for his struggle between doing what he knows is obviously the wrong thing, but it’s a price that needs to be paid in order to better his life and to better the lives of so many others that are affected in the future world. Lives will be restored by his hand, but with some unfortunate blood being spilled in some cases to make that happen… and thus, LOOPER introduces some serious moral quandary for your consideration - to what lengths are okay for us to go if it means stopping something bad from happening in the future.


Just writing it out is surely enough to make your head spin, but LOOPER doesn’t play that complicated at all. These are just the ideas and themes buried deep within Johnson’s film that really elevate the film. On the surface, Johnson keeps things very simple, very easy to follow, so as not to lose you with ideas of time travel, which really act more as a mechanism for this story to occur, not the sole basis. Where LOOPER really shines though is in its efficiency. That may sound like a strange compliment to pay a film, but absolutely nothing is wasted in the movie. If a character shows up on-screen, no matter how trivial you think you may be in the moment, there’s a greater purpose to them. There’s a plan very carefully laid out in how LOOPER unfolds that you can’t possibly appreciate how meticulous it is until the film ends, and you realize how important every aspect of LOOPER was. Even the supporting roles of Paul Dano and Piper Perabo and Jeff Daniels and Pierce Gagnon and Noah Segan seem to have their own full storylines that could have easily been expanded out into solo films, regardless of the small bit of time they feel a part of this movie. That’s how large of a world Johnson has created, with no element of it ever feeling glossed over or included just for the hell of it.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Emily Blunt’s performance as Sara. As good as both Gordon-Levitt and Willis are, it’s Blunt who is key to making all of the threads of the film work. As a farmer with a son, both who had been minding their own business until the plot of LOOPER essentially found them, there is a different layer of love and sacrifice added to the equation beyond what the two Joes bring. There is nothing selfish about how Sara operates, as everything she is and everything she does now is for her boy Cid. Whether a parent yourself or not, you can understand her need to protect her child, to make sure he’s safe, even if it means putting herself at risk. She’s been through some shit in her life, and much like Joe later in his, she found salvation in something else that changed her purpose. And not only in landing the American accent, Blunt is able to draw you into the emotional dilemma that her small family will be faced with as LOOPER pulls back the curtain more on who its characters truly are and what they will become if events as currently constituted stay on course into the future. And even upon their introduction into the film, when you start to get some semblance of an idea as to where LOOPER is going, Johnson is able to keep you guessing as to the end game, as the film builds up to its thrilling and surprising conclusion, complete with one of, if not THE biggest “Oh shit!!” moment of the year along the way. Trust me… you’ll know it when you see it.

LOOPER is a blueprint for excellent storytelling that can be learned from. Each scene progresses the film forward. Each line of dialogue carries meaning, and every character has purpose. There is no dilly-dallying or time killing… every single aspect of LOOPER does something, making for a full and satisfying movie experience. Rian Johnson manages to keep you on your toes, even as you try guessing what the end game is, something you may only have partial success doing. This is one I can envision getting better and much more rewarding upon subsequent viewings as you pick up the finer details that you may have missed the time before. LOOPER is amazingly rich, which translates to a pretty incredible film. This is one you absolutely must see in the present and many more times in the future.  


-Billy Donnelly

"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"

Follow me on Twitter.

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 27, 2012, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Even Kidd Likes it!

    by Elwood Blues

    I was expecting him to hate it. But that's partly because he lists everything as the Kidd vs _____ which makes it seem like he's opposed to it...

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 4:26 p.m. CST



    I'm still undecided if I'd pay to see this

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 4:32 p.m. CST

    This is likely the best movie of the year.

    by Raptor Jesus

    Can't wait. Oh, and Emily Blunt is a fabulous actress.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 4:33 p.m. CST

    This just in...

    by MrWonka

    big_bad_wolf_in_caps has forfeited his film geek card. Let us please have a moment of silence for our fallen comrade whose brain, for reasons unknown, has turned to tapioca.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 4:35 p.m. CST

    I'm really looking forward to seeing this..

    by paul burnett

    ..The more i hear the more i like! Shit, if "Kidd" likes it then i think i'll take one of my rare trips to the pictures and see this. Even every poster i've seen for this film is crammed with creativity, i know that seems kinda shallow but with the amount of bland movie posters kicking around nowadays, Loopers have been outstanding.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 4:42 p.m. CST

    I will...

    by Andrew Coleman

    Suck this movies dick. Can't wait for tomorrow.

  • His name is big_bad_wolf_in_caps. His name is big_bad_wolf_in_caps. His name is big_bad_wolf_in_caps. His name is big_bad_wolf_in_caps...

  • ..and this sounds like something you need to watch a few times to appreciate all of the careful writing.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 5:01 p.m. CST

    I want time travelling hitmen

    by tomdolan04

    to come back and do away with those who incessantly say 'meh' to everything

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 5:11 p.m. CST

    @slone13 - Nice

    by BlueSkittle

    very nice

  • So I definitely have to check this one out. I do have to say though, Willis looks like a surly Capt. Jean Luc Picard in the second pic in the review.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 5:34 p.m. CST

    Saw it

    by Jim McArthur

    Agree with this review. 9 out of 10. This year's Source Code, only better.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 5:40 p.m. CST

    The Kidd calls it an "instant classic?!?"

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    The Kidd is like that Mikey kid from the Life cereal commercials (for those of you old enough to catch that reference). He hates everything. I mean, there have been a few here lately that he's been a little soft on, but by and large, everything is shit in Kidd's world. But this is an instant classic? This movie is now officially moved from "on the radar" to "must-see."

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 5:43 p.m. CST

    but Kidd, did you like it? hard to tell...

    by Detached

    j/k. you got me more interested in it than i was before.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Biggest Bruce Willis hit since "Die Hard"? Maybe.

    by IronEagle74

    Can't wait!

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 6 p.m. CST

    Sounds like Looper is a winner.

    by CodeName

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 6:05 p.m. CST

    BTW, off-topic here, but...

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    can we please do away with rollover ads? Most obnoxious marketing tool ever. And the funny thing is, usually the movie in a rollover ad is a crapfest anyway. So, now, anytime I see a rollover ad, I assume the movie sucks. Don't know if that's what these obnoxious assholes had in mind, but there it is.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 6:13 p.m. CST

    Looper or Dredd?

    by MoistMuskyCamelToe

    Which should I go see- can't catch them both do to some bs scheduling for the next couple of weeks. Recommends for which is better to see in theaters are very much appreciated.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 6:38 p.m. CST


    by seymour_scagnetti

    Definitely Looper. Dredd is good. Looper is great.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 6:53 p.m. CST

    Is it the best Bruce Willis time travel flick since 12 Monkeys?

    by sweeneydave

    That's what the public wants to know!

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 7:25 p.m. CST


    by Andrew Coleman

    How can you not see two movies? Still the debate is a good one... Dredd is a movie that uses 3D the right way so maybe as a theater experience that should be the pick. It also needs your money which maybe Looper will too so it's a real hard choice. Dredd was awesome though.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 7:41 p.m. CST

    See Dredd 3-D > Looper this's why..

    by Quake II

    Not only does Dredd need and deserve your money this weekend (Looper will be fine with the star power it has) but Dredd NEEDS to be seen in 3-D. Those of you saying "I'll just catch Dredd on Blu-ray" will never experience the mind-bending 3-D Slo-Mo drug effects that really enhanced the film as a whole. Dredd 3-D is an experience MADE for the cinema. And keep in mind if you're putting it off, Dredd won't be in theaters for long, Looper will.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Hells yeah!

    by 6000_little_griglets

    Started reading the review but stopped myself... not that it would have been spoiler laden or anything but i know little about this movie and want to keep it that way... can't wait!

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Doing a Dredd/Looper double feature this Saturday.

    by Michael_Jacksons_Ghost

    Can't Wait!

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 7:59 p.m. CST

    Also, thanks for the Dredd poster Kid!

    by Michael_Jacksons_Ghost


  • Sept. 27, 2012, 8:27 p.m. CST


    by Monroville

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 8:35 p.m. CST

    (Really computer?) I still don't know if I buy the premise

    by Monroville

    It may be a good movie, with cewl action scenes and a decently intelligent story... which can't be that intelligent if the premise is time travel exists 60 years (?!) from now in a dystopian future where no one has any money. Oh, by the way, the MAFIA controls time travel. Not the government (because no politician or political party would see the [evil] benefit to time travel).. the mafia. Like in an earlier thread, why don't they time travel someone underneath the ground and just dispense with the Loopers? If someone is crazy enough to kill their future selves, wouldn't they be crazy enough to team up with their future selves and hunt down the person who put a contract on them or just cover their future self who goes on a random murder spree (or something equally dangerous)? Again, I'll still give it a chance and maybe catch it as a matinee... maybe it will win me over.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 8:43 p.m. CST

    Hey Kids

    by Glenn

    Let's put to rest the whole "Kidd hates everything, just like Mikey" bit. It was old 17 weeks ago. I'd say, by and large, most critics for newspapers and magazines aren't much better in the like/dislike column count. I don't understand, do you want someone here reviewing movies who gives passes to sloppy moviemaking and storytelling? Does his opinion offend you so much because you're taking it personally that he dissed your favorite hero or something? Don't you want someone who truly desires -- as you should -- a strong, formidable experience? Just quit it and act like men. Men!

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 8:46 p.m. CST

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt

    by Green

    I'll just say it now. JGL is not a bad actor. But I don't see why he's a star. So here is what I think. Akiva Goldsman (many years back) sold his soul to the devil. He became a rich, famous writer-producer even though his work (including BEAUTIFUL MIND) was mediocre. He passed on the ceremony to JGL, and this young actor did it, too. You will have fame, fortune and fun. But when the bell finally tolls, it tolls for thee...

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 8:48 p.m. CST


    by Glenn

    Dude, c'mon! You haven't even seen the fuckin' thing yet, how can you bitch about it? Protocol for critique: (1) View/hear work. (2) Critique/lambaste/like/love. Pretty goddamn simple. Unless you like being a 21st century analogy for the Christian Rightists who protested "Last Temptation of Christ" without seeing it first.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Wait, Emily Blunt is naked in this??

    by 3D-Man

    If so, ticket sold.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 9:45 p.m. CST

    Nope, Piper Perabo is naked

    by Glenn

    She's saying so in interviews.

  • I hope it is.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 10:30 p.m. CST


    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

    We need about 60 seconds to hit an "edit" or we could proofread before posting... something that has never been done on this site. Ever.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:01 a.m. CST

    the movie has good ideas but is lacking in execution

    by BigDan

    I saw Looper at an advanced screening in Stockholm 3 days ago. I was disappointed which is partly the trailer for the movie's fault that made it look like a new action packed Minority Report style movie. The problems with the movie itself are, trailer aside, still numerous. The pacing is way to slow and the action sequences with Bruce Willis almost seam like a parody of his earlier action movies. The tone is also all over the place where the movie sometimes takes itself very seriously and at other times tries to be inappropriately lighthearted (The Kid Blue character is just so out of place). I also found the whole Rainmaker and characters with TK abilities to be very unnecessary addition to the story. It is almost as if they weren't sure that time travel and all the associated paradoxes where enough to entertain so they also threw in a physic powers angle. It's a shame because at the core of this movie there are a lot of great ideas but I judge movies by their execution and not by their good intentions. That is why I will gladly rewatch 12 Monkeys several times but not this one.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4 a.m. CST

    bigdan - you honestly want another minority report style movie?

    by tonguestubble

    saw it just now in Beijing and this film shits on everything that has come along this summer someone needs to sit Ridley and the dick that wrote Prometheus down and show this to them on a loop for about a week, before they even contemplate making Prom 2 better than Inception - do pay to see it

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:18 a.m. CST

    I don't know what bigdan is talking about

    by sharpie

    I just saw it, and this is damn near my favorite movie of the year. The pacing didn't seem off at all for me, I could see that if you were watching it strictly as an action movie, but there's so much more to this movie than action. There was nothing that didn't work for me, I honestly cannot find a single complaint. Looper is immediately up there with Blade Runner and Alien for me for classic sci-fi movies.

  • Looper's the best surprise of a very overhyped summer of underwhelming blockbusters.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 5:04 a.m. CST

    The Kidd is a damn good reviewer

    by SonOfChiba

    I don't get the hate. Keep up the good work, Kidd.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 6:10 a.m. CST


    by Umney

    Yes. The Kid is the only person I trust. And a few talkbackers, maybe (you guys know who you are). And of course I'm going to see Looper no matter what--it's DICK!

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 6:11 a.m. CST


    by Umney

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 6:20 a.m. CST

    I was a little bit baked when I saw Dredd 3d last night...

    by Righteous Brother

    and thoroughly enjoyed the slo-mo effects, and the rest of the film. Please show it some support it deserves a sequel. I'm seeing Looper this weekend too - cannot wait.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 6:27 a.m. CST

    Willis travels back in time to stop his hair from falling out!

    by Spandau Belly

    It's a race against the clock!

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Why does closing the loop make a difference?

    by FluffyUnbound

    I like time travel movies and like to tease through their paradoxes (or rip them to shreds when they're done wrong) and I don't understand why it benefits the Rainmaker to close the loop. Is it so the witnesses to the prior murders are gone? Just shooting the guys into the past does that. You'd think that you're running more of a risk trying to kill these guys than you are by leaving them alive.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 8:03 a.m. CST

    Jeff Daniels other time travel movie

    by J

    Anybody ever see 'Grand Tour - Disaster In Time'? That was a pretty good, low-key Twilight Zone type flick about time travel. Just sayin...

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 8:25 a.m. CST


    by TheMachinist

    I like to think of it as a solution to the hitman paradox: hiring an endless series of hitmen to kill other hitmen, so as to cover one's tracks as thoroughly as possible. With a "looper", your hitman kills himself, so there's no tracks to cover.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 8:46 a.m. CST


    by TheMachinist

    Betting that made the drug scenes a little better. Try it sober and see if you get the same effect.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 10:13 a.m. CST

    This sounds like PURE... Best Picture.

    by Jarrete Barnett

    I'm determined to see it this weekend.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 11:15 a.m. CST


    by Johnny Wrong

    ...and Blunt is a godess. Mind you, I've known that since My Summer Of Love.

  • just couldn't help yourself could you? weak.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:48 p.m. CST

    It doesn't have Lo Pan

    by Darth Sticky

    Therefore, not interested.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Sorry to tell you. This is not a classic. This isn't 12 Monkeys good.

    by HornOrSilk

    The film is ok, but it is way too hyped, with ratings way beyond what it is worth. There are many problems to the flick. One, the main "hero" is not likeable. Only at the end does he do something which, to me, is worthwhile, but even then, that wasn't really the right solution, and can be criticized on many different levels (did he solve anything? did the kid become good because of it? I doubt it). Disney's "The Kid" is a better time story for Bruce than this. And should have been used to create the story I thought I was seeing: the kid should have been the hero as well, and we should have seen this as the way he begins the process by which he takes over with an iron fist...

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:22 p.m. CST

    I agree with bigdan

    by art123guy

    I just got back and thought it was ok. Maybe I went it with high expectations. As bigdan pointed out, the trailer makes it seem like an action movie, it ain't. And I hate to say it, but it felt like a 2 hour movie. Maybe on a second, rental viewing I'll like it more. Glad I paid matinee price.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:24 p.m. CST

    art123guy indeed, it is ok

    by HornOrSilk

    I also thought "Source Code" was over-rated.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:28 p.m. CST

    Ok. A bit more (in general agreement with Dan but on one thing)

    by HornOrSilk

    I think the Rainmaker idea is good, however, way too poorly executed. Even if it would have been cliche, I think the best solution was to have Bruce/Joseph to be the Rainmaker. They finally realize the kid is himself. I even think in a draft of the script, they were going that way --with elements from that draft still there. The psychic powers are interesting and could also have been used to enhance things.. what if Bruce/Joseph suddenly remembered powers they had in the middle of everything, which is when they remember being the kid... and that was used to execute the competition and he becomes the Rainmaker at the end. That would have tied the kid in perfectly. As it is, the kid represents "would you kill Hitler as a child" questions --and here the answer is no, I would try to change him; but this is not too well worked out.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:37 p.m. CST


    by thedoctor28

    Wow KIDD likes it!! I'm there!!

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:50 p.m. CST

    hornorsilk--Well said, couldn't agree more!

    by art123guy

  • ...No classic I'm afraid. First 30minutes or so are great, after that it loses it's way, and boy does it drag. Not enough Willis either, who is, truth be told, better than he has been in years in this film. I would have enjoyed it more no doubt, if not for the ridiculous over hyping. And I'm surprised the Primer guys consulted on this film, as the time travel logic in this one is incredibly flawed. There showed have been more playing around with the pretty fucking cool cause and effect mechanic used in the early part of the film. All in all, ***, but might have snagged **** if not for the hype.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:11 p.m. CST


    by FreeBeer

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:33 p.m. CST

    I loved it, it's flawed but brilliant

    by DexterMorgan

    Do not go in expecting an action movie though. Its a character driven sci-fi thriller and works best in these moments.The action was probably the weakest part. Loads of awesome shit happens though and there are a several HOLY SHIT moments in my opinion. And Piper Perabo's perfect ass and pert little titties. Old Paul Dano's scene was....... Oh just go and see it!

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:49 p.m. CST


    by Reckoner

    This will suck.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:51 p.m. CST

    I enjoyed that a lot. *spoilers*

    by whatevillurks

    I suppose the Rainmaker is one of those well intentioned extremists. He wants to save his mom and shatter the looper system. Set right what was once wrong.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:59 p.m. CST


    by HornOrSilk

    It's hard telling with the Rainmaker. He seems to be a kind of Tetsuo. His mother is trying to calm him down. To teach him to be good. But does she end up doing so? I don't think so.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:01 p.m. CST

    A couple of issues I had, for people that have seen SPOILERS!!

    by FreeBeer

    SPOILERS!!!! 1. The TK thing was unnecessary, added nothing to the story. It was enough that the kid was going to grow up to be some evil bad ass crime boss. It seemed to be added just for an excuse to add some neat special effects. 2. Why do they have to close the Loop? No witnesses? They allow the guy to retire and live out the next thirty years of his life in freedom. In all that time he could have told anyone about the crime bosses and about Loopers, but didn't. Suddenly this guy is 60 and he is a threat for some reason? Why? 3. How did Emily Blunt's character know about Loopers? I may have missed something but I don't think this was explained. Seemed they made her character know about Loopers so they could avoid a long, drawn out seen with Levitt trying to convince her. Fair enough I suppose, we have seen that scene too many times in time travel flicks. 4. I liked when it switched to Willis' point of view early on. Willis was GREAT in this film, more personality than his shown in years. He was more McLaine in this than he was in Die Hard 4. So what's my problem? He pretty much disappears when Levitt arrives at the farm. This is also where the film took a downturn for me, thought it was turning out to be something rather special up until that point. Also, turning his character into The Terminator half way through? It would have been fine if he didn't kill any kids, if he was about to kill one lets say, but received the new memory of the kid on the farm killing Raising Hope guy before he went through with it. But as soon as he kills that kid early on, he becomes a more straight forward villain. Worked better when you didn't know who to root for. (Though I understand why they did it, so you would have no doubt he would go through with it at the end, no doubt that Levitt's sacrifice was necessary. Still, I think it made the film altogether less interesting. 5. I would have liked if, similar to how they show Looper's entire life up until the point he is sent back early in the film, they showed the Rainmakers life, and showing how it changed, IF it changed. 6. Do the mob use time travel for anything other than body disposal? You'd think they would. Granted, Jeff Bridge's does mention even the mob don't want to fuck around with the time line too much, but aren't they doing that by dismembering the Looper at the begining? 7. Not really a complaint, but am I the only one that thought Kid Blue would turn out to be Abe's younger self?

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:09 p.m. CST

    freebeer my own thoughts on your questions

    by HornOrSilk

    1. I think the TK wasn't used enough, and so this becomes justified. 2. I think the whole "closing the Loop" was explained as "no witnesses." But I think there is something more -- the Rainman has made the system and he hates the Loopers. 3. I thought it was going to be that she was from the future. This is how I took it but this never manifested itself. But it is clear, people know about them, how many, we don't know, but some certainly do. 4.I agree: it was cool seeing his side of the story, but it also showed us he was indeed a bad guy. It is what his past-self also sees and wants to stop. 5. I agree. Though I still get this sense that early on in the scriptwriting, he was going to be the Rainmaker, and yet that scrubbed this as being too complicated. 6. I agree. It is difficult to know what else time travel is being used, but I would think someone would use time travel to take control. The Rainmaker? 7. I really thought the Rainmaker was going to be him. Even some lines hinted at it -- showing similarities between him and the rest.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:13 p.m. CST

    hmm, come to think of it....SPOILER

    by FreeBeer

    I did think Abe's accent slipped in one scene, resembling Kid Blue's speech. Would explain the father/son dynamic. Abe=Kid Blue

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:17 p.m. CST

    Thanks for your thoughts hornorsilk. Again, i liked the movie...

    by FreeBeer

    ...I just don't think it's perfect or in any way the instant classic (hate that phrase anyway) people are making it out to be.

  • ...that Abe is Kid Blue's future self.... I think Jeff Daniels was Kid Blue's future self. After JGL falls on the car, Bruce Willis says something to the effect of "you stupid kid..." and then it immediately cuts to Kid Blue waiting to be reprimanded after losing JGL and the very next line is Jeff Daniels walking into the room saying "you stupid kid..."

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:31 p.m. CST

    What Young Joe SHOULD do in this situation is...

    by FluffyUnbound

    ...find and kill the guy who ends up inventing the time machine.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:34 p.m. CST

    hornorsilk and freebeer...SPOILER

    by art123guy

    Only 2 points: 1. There was a point where it was explained that the Rainmaker came out of nowhere and took over ALL the mobs, by himself. The TK was added to make the kid that powerful to do it on his own. Plus it was cool to look at. 2. hornorsilk, I didn't think the Rainmaker made the Looper system. I thought he took over all the mobs just to get rid of it since it killed his mother.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:44 p.m. CST


    by FreeBeer

    ....Yes, but that line needn't have been in the film. That was added as a way of justifying the TK. The story would have worked just the same without saying he took over by himself or with the inclusion of TK. I just don't it's inclusion was justified, it didnt serve the story, and as such felt kinda tacked on to make it look more shiny. It DID look shiny mind you.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:45 p.m. CST

    Oh, and art123guy...SPOILER!

    by FreeBeer

    ...The Looper system killed his mother? Did I miss something? I thought it was his TK abilities that killed his mother?

  • Am I right in thinking that the film has a number of red herrings or am I just not sharp enough to join the dots? 1) Is the hair brushing by Sara with her fingers at the end just to fuck with our heads as Joe can't logically be Cid i.e. No TK, Old Joe not being the Rainmaker, Cid not looking anything like the Joes. Is it just to highlight the importance of mothers shaping their sons/mess with our noggins? If so I find this a bit of a cheap trick on reflection. 2) Does Joe actually prevent the Rainmaker? How much else would vanish from the present (like old Joe) because of young Joe's final choice? The silver is still there and Sara having the watch seems to have some significance. Do all Loopers have the same type of pocket watch? 3) Is Joe having sex with Sara a huge red herring. It never happened in the first loop we see which contains a future with a Rainmaker I kept thinking maybe she'd gotten preggas and this somehow tied into the future or that somehow he was doing the nasty with his own mother! 4) The prostitute/stripper and her kid that Joe is fond of doesn't get killed. Is this meaningless? Could it be that Cid isnt even the Rainmaker and this kid is? This kid might also have powers. Occam's razor would say not but who knows.... 5) If Cid IS the Rainmaker as seems to be the case does he also invent time travel? His gifts seem to extend to being remarkably bright and somebody who can build things. So many questions I think I need to see it again!

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:52 p.m. CST


    by dcro1

    I have a funny feeling that is Cid!

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 5:13 p.m. CST


    by art123guy

    I agree that the TK wasn't needed. My thought was how the writer felt it was needed. Yes, the kid's TK killed his Mom. However, if the Loopers never existed, that moment in the field would never have happened, the kid wouldn't have lost control and his Mom wouldn't have died. So the Rainmaker took over the mobs and ordered all the Looper contracts terminated in the hope that he'd kill the Looper that killed his Mom. Of course, the kid had no idea that killing the Loopers would in fact end up killing his Mother. At least, that's how I saw it. Again, maybe a second viewing is needed, but it's not a viewing I personally have to have since I thought it was ok, and not "THE GREATEST ACTION, SCI-FI MOVIE OF THE SUMMER!!!!!"

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 5:29 p.m. CST


    by art123guy

    1. Not sure. 2. I think the silver and watch were from Young Joe, so it would still be there. 3. Not sure. 4. I think the prostitute was only there so Kid Blue could capture Old Joe. It woulda been nice if at the end, we found out that Cid wasn't the Rainmaker and it was the prostitute's son. 5. I thought Cid invented the time machine as well. But if he had, why would he enver let it fall into the hands of the mob? Cid would have made sure it didn't since that is what created the Looper system and the Loopers that killed his Mom.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 5:52 p.m. CST

    Thanks art - My reply is SPOILER HEAVY!

    by dcro1

    With regard to 5 - I separate the films into three Loops: 1) Everything goes as planned - Young Joe Kills old Joe 2) Young Joe gets to the 30 year point and decides to try and escape which essentially gives us the main story we see on screen and could notionally end with Sara dead leading to a vengeful Cid 3) Young Joe seeking to negate the outcomes of the Loop 2 I've described above by preventing the existence of an older Joe His Mom Sara didn't get killed in the first loop when old Joe was killed as planned and a Rainmaker existed in that timeline so he may have invented it before the consequences started to ripple through to the future. I get the impression that Cid becoming the Rainmaker was inevitable in all three versions of the future that the 3 loops we see presented. He is the inventor of the Looper system but it spirals out of control and he's trying to fix that. Maybe the film is mostly a comment on nature v nuture and our pre=destiny to turn out a certain way?

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Theory Time [Spoiler]

    by TheMachinist

    Almost seems like every major male character in this thing was some incarnation of Joe. Old Joe caused the Rainmaker to exist through Sid, obviously, but what about the good path? How did Sid turn out when properly taken care of? Originally, I thought that he turned into the Young Joe, as the ending might suggest. Young Joe then grows up to be Abe, who takes in the Kid Joe that Present Young Joe almost hits with his car. Kid Joe is described as "all scrawny and scraggly, his hair sticking to half his face", after all. Plus, Abe tells Present Joe to go to China, implying he knows a little about how Joe's future will pan out. Came up with this right after the movie, though I don't know how accurate I am.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 7:53 p.m. CST


    by The Infamous Billy The Kidd

    Good luck piecing this one together.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 10:19 p.m. CST

    In movie wild guessing....

    by whatevillurks

    Since the kid looked eurasian my brother and I became convinced that Bruce Willis sent his kid back in the past for safety's sake and thats why Sara knew about Loopers. What was the deal with the baby crying during that flash forward with Bruce and his wife?

  • The kid says that she wasn't his mom but she really is. She abandoned him with her sister after he was born but returned when she died from one of the rainmakers rages

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 2:07 a.m. CST

    Enjoyed but have a question - spoiler

    by 1TrueGod

    Can someone explain how the first loop for joe resulted in the young joe killing his older self (hood on) yet the second loop he comes through without the hood? Did the women who saved his life in the second loop not exist in the first loop? It's the one question I can't reason... Presented another way - JGL attempts to kill Willis and fails. We flash back to a previous loop where JGL successfully kills Willis, grows older and meets a women who changes his life. Where was she the first time he successfully killed his older self?

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 2:20 a.m. CST

    My view of the movie

    by Darian Skarica

    So after more than 10 years of reading AICN, I've registered to comment on LOOPER, so that's how much I'm impressed with the movie. And spoilers obviously :) As I see it, there are 2 main timelines (plus one that doesn't matter, lets call it null timeline). These timelines start to be different in the moment when old Joe comes back. Everything before that is the same. Bedore the Event - So Rainmaker accidentally kills his mother. He desperately wants to change that. He hates his mother and think she is a liar. For me it is implied that he created the time machine (tech genius, saying he wants to change what happened), but the story remains the same even if he didn't. The null timeline - Joe lives his life as a Looper, is sent back and killed by young Bruce Willis Timeline Joe. The first timeline - Bruce Willis Timeline Joe - young Joe kills the old insignificant Joe. Now, this is the timeline with the most questions about Rainmaker motives (but as I'll explain in the second timeline it isn't significant for the story). The biggest important thing in this timeline is that he obviously never talked with his mother, and never got the loving connection with her. He grew up to be Rainmaker. Why does he hate Loopers - we'll go into guessing territory here which I don't like, and it really doesn't matter. As i see it he became a monster and a criminal overlord with his motives. If you accept that he created time travel then those motives become more personal. But for me, what is important is the relationship with his mother. How did he get the jaw? Something happened :) The second timelin - JGL Timeline Joe - the old Joe escapes. At some point Young Joe (JGL) comes to the Rainmaker farm. Because of this event the relationship between the Rainmaker and his mother starts to change. She becomes aware that the kid remembers killing of his mother, and that he thinks of her as a liar. So, if you draw parallel between Rainmaker and Hitler (you know the question :) would you go back and kill him) P.S.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 2:21 a.m. CST

    by Darian Skarica

    Ok, so how da faq did I manage to post this before I'm finished :) Is there a way to delete your posts?

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 2:45 a.m. CST

    My take - the whole post

    by Darian Skarica

    So after more than 10 years of reading AICN, I've registered to comment on LOOPER, so that's how much I'm impressed with the movie. And huge spoilers obviously :) As I see it, there are 2 main timelines (plus one that doesn't matter, lets call it null timeline). These timelines start to be different in the moment when old Joe comes back. Everything before that is the same. Before the Event - So Rainmaker accidentally kills his mother. He desperately wants to change that. He hates his mother and think she is a liar. For me it is implied that he created the time machine (tech genius, saying he wants to change what happened), but the story remains the same even if he didn't. The null timeline - Joe lives his life as a Looper, is sent back and killed by young Bruce Willis Timeline Joe. The first timeline - Bruce Willis Timeline Joe - young Joe kills the old insignificant Joe. Now, this is the timeline with the most questions about Rainmaker motives (but as I'll explain in the second timeline it isn't significant for the story). The biggest important thing in this timeline is that he obviously never talked with his mother, and never got the loving connection with her. He grew up to be Rainmaker. Why does he hate Loopers - we'll now go into guessing territory here which I don't like, but "why" really doesn't matter. As i see it he became a monster and a criminal overlord with his motives. If you accept that he created time travel then those motives become more personal. What are they specifically? Doesn't matter. How did he get the jaw? Well, something happened :) The second timeline - JGL Timeline Joe - the old Joe escapes. At some point Young Joe (JGL) comes to the Rainmaker farm. Because of this event the relationship between the Rainmaker and his mother starts to change. She becomes aware that the kid remembers killing his mother, and that he thinks of her as a liar. We come to the end of the movie. Lets start from the moment the kid is holding Bruce Willis in the air. In this moment he finally got real connection with his mother (something that didn't happen in the first timeline). And JGL arrives. He sees the jaw, he understands his hatred towards Loopers. It doesn't matter what happened in the first timeline, the final outcome - Rainmaker becoming Rainmaker - will still stay the same. So he stopped it by sacrificing himself. So, if you draw parallel between Rainmaker and Hitler (you know the question :) would you go back and kill him), the films logic is - whatever you do the final outcome (Hitler becoming Hitler) will stay the same, even if you (AND THIS IS IMPORTANT) didn't caused it in the first place. So, when JGL says it always goes into circle, it doesn't until that point, but it probably would in the future iterations. Why I think he won't become evil Rainmaker this time? What has changed this time? He connected with his mother whose purpose is to help him use his powers for good. P.S. Everyone that is saying that Joe should be Rainmaker. I think that it would be too obvious, because everyone I talked to have said that they thought of it while watching the movie.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 7:47 p.m. CST

    SPOILERS n' shit.

    by Jarrete Barnett

    Abe being Kid Blue sure as hell would explain why he never just hauled off and bumped him off every time he fucked up. In the average movie, the bumbling henchman gets clipped in a heartbeat just to make an example. And on that note, I don't recall Kid Blue actually being shown (confirmed) dead after getting shot down by young Joe. If he goes on to live, it further explains why he knew so much about both old and young Joe's motives. Time travel is eventual invented (potentially by the Rainmaker) and Kid Blue is sent back before meeting a younger Joe, and the loop starts all over again. And you notice Joe or Seth never got ceremonial notice about passing their loops. Their future selves just popped up in front of them one day, at least in Joe's case. I think even young Joe pulls off the job, he's still surprised to find out it was him under the hood. Obviously, older Joe putting up a fight represents rebellion against his previous fate of blindly following orders, and not solely about ulterior motives of saving his future wife. At the end, perhaps young, present Joe realizes he can't change his past (getting recruited by Abe), or fix his future (dead wife), so the only solution is to continually take himself out of the equation. Maybe the Rainmaker is simply a myth Abe made up to keep his loopers in check, preoccupied. And as long as Kid Blue lives and Abe gets a hold of younger Joe in the past, the loop keeps going. All the while, present Joe doesn't know any better about present Kid Blue, and neither would future Joe, being a product of present Joe's actions. That being said, if the Abe and Kid Blue theory is true, then ultimately this is a story of Joe's conquest of progressively (little by little) transcending the limits of his own perspective (slave mentality).