If you have seen Looper, you either know exactly what I’m talking about with the title of this post, or you are already spitting bullets in my direction. Ok, so I finally (and I KNOW this is criminal, but so it goes) got round to watching the (5 stars! Empire – though to be fair they will give anything 5 stars, snark…) film “Looper.”
Being a die-hard sci-fi fan and not having seen a good sci-fi film for a while, I was looking forward to this gem that I had missed.
Underwhelmed was a fair description of my reaction.
Looper is full of plot holes right from the start, and I’m not even talking about the time-travel logic (which makes little to no sense throughout), Im talking about some of the basic ideas.
Ok, so guys the mob doesn’t like in the future are sent back in time to be killed by loopers, because disposing of a body in the future is almost impossible (so the premise goes). Fine.
But: Why not just send someone back in time – but into a volcano, or to the bottom of the ocean? Even if the time travel they had invented involved being sent to exactly the same location thirty years in the past, wouldn’t it be quicker to simply go back in time, build a furnace at that exact location, and cut out the middle man altogether? Or just have a guy standing next to the furnace switching it on whenever someone is zapped back into the past and into it? Plot hole number one. As a side note: Why are the mob wandering around with guns in the future, and why are they so quick to put a bullet in Joe’s wife? If killing people is such a problem in the future, why do they have such itchy trigger fingers?
Moving on – as well as time travel, we are given telekinesis. Because…well, it isn’t really clear why. As a plot device to point out how dangerous the kid is, mostly, leading us to that whole “would you kill hitler if you met him as a a child” chestnut which the story hinges on (and apparently, the correct answer is “no, you would just fix his mommy issues”). Fair enough, but I was already grappling with one improbability and then a second one is thrown in.
Back to the time travel issues. Admittedly, time travel is never an exact science in any film or tv show, there’s always a bunch of wibby wobbly timey-wimey stuff going on. But even the most basic time travel suggests that if you kill someone (ie yourself) then everything you did after that point won’t have happened. So if young Joe kills himself, old Joe will never have existed and will never have come back in time to attempt to kill the Rainmaker so young Joe won’t end up killing himself and so on. Okay, let’s assume we are dealing with some kind of split timeline where that isn’t the case. Fine. So old Joe is from one possible alternate future, his younger self kills himself and in the time travel logic of looper this simply leads to older Joe blipping out of existence. Fine.
But not the gold he brought with him? That stays? Really?
Finally - let’s get onto Joe himself. Both versions are, let’s face it, thoroughly unpleasant characters right from the off – old Joe and young Joe are no-conscience killers who will sell out a friend for a few bars of silver, and who somehow we are supposed to root for. And then believe that they will grow enough of a conscience in order to sacrifice themselves on the slim chance that this might stop an emotionally disturbed child turning into an adult monster. Best friend sold for a few bars of silver. Sacrificed himself for an emotionally deranged child. Quite a character jump.
And then, finally, there’s the elephant in the room.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis look nothing like each other, even with the prosthetics applied to JGL. They don’t even act or sound like each other. At no point in the film did I remotely believe this was the same character. And these are two A-list actors.
Conclusion: despite all the hype, rave reviews and general accolade, there were simply too many plot-holes, irritating details and inconsistencies for me to rate Looper.
What do you think? Was Looper over-rated or did it deserve all the accolades and awards it received?
Dave is the Editor of TLFR and a freelance writer. As well as a guest on BBC radio and regular appearances on the television show Reel Review, he has written for The Guardian, We Got This Covered, the International Political Forum and more.