Courtesy of Sony Pictures

By Christos Liardakis

Rian Johnson’s newest film Looper, is a mix of futuristic sci-fi and action. The most unique part about this movie is how time travel is integrated into the story line and actually works. With a great cast that features Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, combined with Rian Johnson’s brilliant directing, Looper provides its audience with a mind-blowing experience.
The story takes place in 2044 Kansas, where the U.S. has fallen into a horrible recession and 10 percent of the population has been born with telekinetic powers (TK). At first, everyone thinks these abilities will lead to super heroes and a better future, but most people can do nothing more than levitate a quarter. With no hope left, people turn to the mafia, leading to a booming underworld full of drugs, prostitution and murder. Jumping forward to 2074, the mafia essentially rules the world from behind the scenes under the hand of the Rainmaker, a powerful TK whose abilities put all others to shame. Time travel is finally invented, but immediately outlawed by the government. This leads to a new method of murder, and with advanced tracking devices there is no corpse that can’t be found. So for the mafia to get the job done they send their target to the past to be executed by a “looper”. No corpse, no evidence and as far as the past is concerned, the given person is still alive.
Joseph Gordon Levitt plays a looper named Joe Simmons, who makes his living doing just that, until it is time for him to “close his loop.” This refers to when a looper must finally terminate his future self in exchange for a huge reward and a 30 year retirement. Unfortunately all this goes horribly wrong as Joe’s future-self, played by Bruce Willis, escapes in an attempt to change the future and eliminate the Rainmaker before he becomes an adult. With the mafia chasing down both Joes, and the younger Joe hunting for his future self to set things straight, it is only a matter of time before everything turns into chaos.
The movie heavily symbolizes the mafia as a futuristic Illuminati force, manipulating government and basically everyone’s daily lives. Meanwhile, time travel plays a prevalent theme in the entire movie, questioning the existence of one single time line but also challenges it with different parallel worlds. Do they all lead to the same place at the end? Or can different parallel worlds lead to an infinite number of different results? Rian Johnson pulls out all the stops for the time traveling theme, unabashed by paradoxes or contradiction since after all, time travel itself should bring up just such paradoxes and contradictions. With a great, well thought out plot and an amazing cast, Looper will leave the audience scratching their heads while the credits roll, still trying to figure out if the Rainmaker will ever come to exist among other questions.