Looper (2012)

I foun the movie had great action, pacing, and thematically pleasing to watch. I had two main thoughts about the movie, but Rian Johnson has an interview which answers one of them well and the other to some satisfaction.

The first thought is in regards to the premise of the movie, laid out in the initial part of the movie. The protagonist narrates that the future has some sort of tagging method and the only way to get rid of someone is to first send them back in time. Apparently, this isn't explained further because Rian Johnson thought it'd be an unnecessary spend of time - a decision one has to make sparingly in sci-fi (e.g., exposition on hyperdrive, exposition on communication across space). However, Johnson says that essentially everyone has a device that would trigger an alert when they died or which can be signaled by the authorities. Killing the person in any way would trigger the signal, but sending them back in time is a loophole. Of course once they get sent back in time, they need to be eliminated otherwise the person sent back would affect the future.

The second thought is in regards to the ending, and how it relates to the Rainmaker. It is implied that the Rainmaker was caused to come into existence by Joe. But when I was watching the movie, I thought of it more like Old Joe's actions were a result of the Rainmaker. However, after watching the interview, in which Rian Johnson makes some indication about it being hard to tell and the interviewer using the term "chicken-and-egg," I realized that perhaps it is perhaps more or less of a loop which Joe felt he could break by removing himself.

As an aside, I think there's a critical scene in the film that captures the essence of all that follows it. In the diner, Old Joe explains he wants to save his wife. Joe then says to then just show him the picture and he'll never have to meet her, which would save her, but Old Joe refuses. This is the first indication that Old Joe is being selfish.
I subsequently read an article which also did a great job interpreting the time travel in Looper: Time travel in Looper.

Netflix determined the movie for me as a 95% match. I decided to give the movie neither a thumbs up nor a thumbs down.
Rating: 3.8/5

20240414 Comment:
I was wondering today about "Joe 3" in my comment in the Instant Comments section below. I came about in my mind to believe that the matter of sending a person back in time creates a ripple into the future. To make it easier in my mind, I imagine there's a forefront of time, where the future has not yet been created. As such there's a first Joe that reaches 2024, before the future invention of time travel circa 2074. When that forefront hits 2074, persons are sent back to 2024 to create this special assassination system, which will affect the lives of persons in 2024 in a strange circular fashion. As such, there exists a Joe that never became a looper until that moment when the assassination system was created. In dealing with time in Loki, I had created extra time dimensions and that might be possible here. Actually speaking of Loki, there must be infinite branches that we're not observing. We're following a specific Joe that has removed himself from the loop with a special connection to Old Joe. However, think about a past iteration of Joe. What happens to that Joe's future? Will he not have an Old Joe appearing to close the loop?

Note someone linked a cool diagram with a loop that does a pretty good job of intertwining what I named Joe 1, Joe 2, and Joe 3: https://imgur.com/4uMpD. However, such a diagram would not be in line with the rules of Looper - since JGL_2 placing the message on his arm should only affect BW_2 and yet it appears on the arm of BW_1 (using the notation of the diagram). With that being said, the diagram aligns with my thinking that the movie would be better with multiple timelines, scrapping the idea of transmitting changes, and rewriting the story where needed to not depend on transmitting changes (e.g., Joe meeting with Old Joe in the diner). Perhaps this is a difficult task, but it would make for a more compelling story.

Instant Comments:
Holy moly. Guy just blinks in and gets shot
Huh. So just dumping bodies in the past
Huh. "Closing the loop" is explained... The shot happens so quickly it'd be near impossible not to kill yourself. In any case signing up for the gig means you likely set a cap on your life at 30 years...
"Letting your loop run"
"no law against it" (he's allowed to stash his bars)
oh... that's interesting... they can't kill him because... well in a closed-loop timeline they couldn't have killed him cause he made it to the future
lol. I'm from the future you should go to China
twirling your gun seems so stupid (as stupid as sticking your gun in the front of your pants; the last place I'd want to stick a gun is near my penis)
yikes. a scar showing up on his arm
hehe missing fingers (so it's more like a Back-to-the-Future type timeline)
interesting that he chose to go to the address indicated
hmm... all that silver he had stashed... he won't be able to get to it now, right? he should have placed it in different locations
huh... he was bold enough to come back to his place
didn't even retrieve any of his bars; I guess he was just waiting to run
huh. what's this...
thinking about earlier, knowing now that he turns into Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt definitely threw some mannerisms throughout that resembled Bruce Willis which makes the transition more believable.
yeah so with multiple timelines... we're tracking two version of Joe, or maybe three. Let's say Joe 1, Joe 2, Joe 3. We start out watching Joe 1 which eventually waits on a Joe 2 to appear and Joe 2 appears and stuns Joe 1. Joe 1 goes back to his apartment. Time rewinds and we actually see Joe 2 in Joe 1's spot who does close the loop by killing Joe 3, which is strange since we're to believe that Joe 3 should be Joe 2, but Joe 2 clearly has a different fate than Joe 3... The weird thing is how this contrasts with Seth who's future self was directly connected to what was done to his present self. Though I guess if your future self is killed, then your future self can have a chance to live... though not vice versa
hahaha less letters. I was gonna say that's a lot of real estate on an arm to send a message
huh. he's just gonna kill three kids to save his wife?
interseting comment: "she's not my mom. she's a liar"
hmm... that seemed supernaturally intense
ah okay... wow. what a twist. (kid fell down the stairs)
hehe. "I'm not such a fuck-up now" (followed by a surprise and "Motherfuckers!")
Kid you better run now... cause you've fucked up
Hmm... This Kid is an idiot... he could have just left
holy fuck... I thought he would just simply transmit those thoughts to his old self... but his action was much more drastic. perhaps the fitting end [though he could have just shot off his firing hand? maybe he figured that would just be a temporary solution]

Watched 20240413 (Netflix, Instant)
Looper (2012) Rian Johnson. 119 min

Relevant Links:
Looper (IMDb.com)
Looper (RottenTomatoes.com)
Looper (Wikipedia.org)

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