tek's rating: ¾

Looper (R)
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This came out in 2012, but I didn't see it until 2020. It's the kind of thing you might expect to be essentially an action movie, but in sci-fi clothing. In fact, it's more of a seriously thought-provoking science fiction film that happens to have some action elements. I don't want to say too much about the plot, so as to avoid spoilers, but I'll do my best to give you a sense of what it's about.

Set in 2044, it mostly follows the story of a "looper" named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who provides some narration early on, to set up the premise. Sometime in the thirty years after Joe's time, time travel will be invented and outlawed. Crime syndicates use time travel to dispose of their murder victims, in the past. Loopers receive instructions on where and when to await the arrival of a bound and hooded victim from the future, whom they then kill and dispose of the body. Eventually, if the looper is still alive 30 years in the future, the syndicate will send them back in time to be killed by a looper, thereby "closing the loop." This is necessary so that the loopers can't be connected to the syndicates by the authorities in the future. Another sci-fi element to the story is that there are some people who have telekinetic powers (TK), though this is generally not at a high enough level to amount to more than parlor tricks.

I'm not quite sure why a looper has to kill their own future self, instead of that self being assigned to another looper. But considering the victims are wearing hoods, no one ever really knows when they're killing themselves, anyway. However, Joe's future self (Bruce Willis) shows up without a hood, one day, and Joe hesitates to shoot him. This gives future Joe a chance to knock out young Joe, and go on the run. As punishment, young Joe would be killed by his fellow loopers, but he manages to evade them and try to track down his future self, to close the loop. He learns one of three places future Joe is planning to go, in order to kill a mysterious new crime boss in the future called the Rainmaker, who has recently been ordering all loops to be closed sooner rather than later. Future Joe has information on three possible children who might grow up to become the Rainmaker, though he doesn't know which one it is. (Which kind of reminds me of The Terminator.) Anyway, young Joe goes to one location, a farm where a woman named Sara (Emily Blunt) lives with her young son, Cid. (Sara and and Cid are both TK's, and Cid turns out to be kind of a creepy kid.) Young Joe's only intention is to wait on the farm for old Joe to show up to kill Cid, who is one of the potential Rainmakers. He doesn't really care about protecting them from old Joe, he just wants to kill old Joe. But of course, he soon ends up caring about Sara and Cid, and wants to protect them, after all.

Okay... I'm leaving out several important characters and lots of important details of the story. It's all very convoluted and I'm not sure it makes perfect sense, but it was definitely very interesting. For most of the movie's run, I expected I'd rate it four smileys (quite liked), but what happens in the end, which I won't spoil, made me bump that up to one heart (kind of loved), and upon reflection, I added 3/4 of a heart to that rating. Because it really is pretty incredible... in terms of both drama and sci-fi concept.

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