The trouble with time travel movies, besides the scientific impossibility, is the logical improbability. And the more you think about it, the worse it gets.
Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a “Looper,” that is, he is a paid assassin, hired to eliminate guys who are zipped in from the future. These hapless time travelers arrive at a pre-arranged remote spot, at a pre-arranged time, all bound and gagged and blindfolded. Easy. You just arrive at the appointed hour, wait until they suddenly appear, and pull the trigger. Then you dispose of the corpse in the handy nearby crematorium (also so remote there’s nobody else around). Piece of cake. Collect the silver for your trouble, and call it a day.
Joe, with all that money on his hands, not to mention an excess of spare time, loves to party, and do drugs----a kind of eyedrop that sends him on a high, but leaves no tracks or chemical trace. Clever. Except after a while, he’s outsmarted himself. He’s now an addict, and can’t go for more than a day without a new “hit”. Worse, things have gotten kind of funky at the office. It seems that some of these “travelers” from the future just might be the Loopers themselves, conveniently disposed of when their usefulness has expired. And what happens to them, then, in the present? And how weird would it be if one day you came face to face with…..yourself, 30 years older? Maybe you’d be amused. Maybe you’d find your (selves) engaged in a grim combat to the death. Maybe you’d take one hard look at your future and just shoot yourself now.
Oh, of course there’s a woman in here somewhere, and she’s beautiful, and she’s mysterious. And there’s a cute kid who’s not nearly as harmless and innocent as he appears. And then there’s the wizened old tough guy, none other than Bruce Willis, who’s looking a little long in the tooth these days to inspire fear, but maybe the scariest part is that he’s the sanest character of the whole bunch. And doesn’t Jeff Daniels make for a mesmerizing bad guy?
Yes, the contradictions fall in on themselves, and you’re better off just ignoring that part and enjoying all the images that seem to fly by so fast it will literally make you dizzy. This is one to be experienced rather than figured out.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving, Texas