In the year 2044, 25-year-old Joseph "Joe" Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works for a crime syndicate in Kansas City as a "looper". Led by a man sent from the future named Abe ( JeffDaniels), loopers kill and dispose of victims sent back in time, and are paid with bars of silver strapped to the target, whose face is hidden by a bag. the reason of the process was that in the future, it is impossible to do killings without being prosecuted for it.
However, there is a downside to the whole deal as to when a looper is retired, the looper's future self is sent back exactly thirty years as his target, but with gold bars. This event is referred to as "closing the loop". Not carrying out the killing is punishable by death.
One night, Seth (Dano), Joe's best friend and fellow looper, tells him that he has failed to close his own loop, and that his future self warned him of a mysterious person called the Rainmaker, who has somehow overthrown the five major crime bosses all by himself and is busy ending all of the loopers' contracts in 2074. Joe reluctantly hides Seth in his apartment's secret floor safe, but the place is searched and he is taken to Abe by Kid Blue (Segan).
Given the choice of revealing Seth's hiding place or forfeiting half of the silver he has hoarded, Joe betrays Seth. The syndicate start mutilating him, knowing that the injuries will be propagated to his older self. They cut an address into Seth's arm, then begin removing parts of his body, causing the older Seth to go to the address, where he is killed.
Joe's next target is late. When he does arrive, he is unbound and his head is bare. It is Joe's older self (Willis). Before Joe shoots, the man turns around so the bullet strikes the gold bars strapped to his back. Old Joe throws a bar, then knocks the younger man out and escapes.
Soon, an alternate future is shown. This time, Joe does close his loop, his older self's head being covered by a bag. He retires to Shanghai, China, where he falls in love and marries. After his 30 years elapse, Joe is taken to close the loop, but his wife is killed in the process. Overpowering his captors, Joe sends himself back to 2044.
Later, meeting his younger self, old Joe explains he is going to kill the Rainmaker as a child to change the future and save his wife. Joe tries but fails to close his loop. Then Kid Blue and other men working for Abe show up, and a gunfight ensues. Young Joe ends up with old Joe's map, which contains three locations circled on the map and a number.
Young Joe heads to one of the marked places, a farm where Sara (Blunt) and her young son Cid (Gagnon) live. Sara distrusts him at first, but gradually warms to him. When Joe shows Sara the map, she recognizes the number as Cid's birthday along with the code of the hospital where he was born. Joe guesses old Joe is going to kill all three boys born that day, not knowing which one will become the Rainmaker. Joe decides to wait at the farm for his older self.
Joe soon learns that Sara is telekinetic (as is about 10% of the population), and that Sara gave Cid to her sister to raise until she was accidentally killed by Cid.
One morning, Jesse (Dillahunt), one of Abe's thugs, comes looking for both Joes. He returns later and threatens Sara. Cid falls down the stairs and becomes angry, which triggers an extraordinarily powerful telekinetic blast that kills Jesse, revealing that he is the future Rainmaker.
Meanwhile, Kid Blue captures old Joe and takes him to Abe. Old Joe breaks free and kills Abe and many of his men, though Kid Blue is only wounded. Then old Joe heads to Sara's place. While young Joe shoots it out with Kid Blue, old Joe pursues Sara and Cid. Cid creates another telekinetic blast, but before he can kill old Joe (suspended in mid-air), Sara manages to calm him down. Then, telling Cid to run into the cane field, Sara stands in old Joe's line of sight to shield her son. Young Joe realizes that his older self will shoot Sara and fill Cid with the anger which will mold him into the Rainmaker. Too far away to prevent it, he instead kills himself, thus erasing old Joe.
i'm nursing a headache, trying to figure out how to fit the story into a congruent understandable timeline. i mean, who was shot in place of old Joe? and the prosthetic put on JGL's face so he resembles BW (not!) was so annoyingly fake, and at times, not helping at all.
the basis of the looper's existence is that killers cannot possibly flee from justice in the future, yet Joe did so much killings left and right as he grew old that this defies the very purpose. what? no law abiding enforcers in China? nada? then why in the world send them back into the past? send them to China instead!
there are also the dancer part. which is to me serves no purpose at all other than scintillating the minds of the viewers, what with the frontal nudity by miss Perabo. hah, don't go looking for the scene, it's pointless and yes, serve no purpose! and joining that scene to my further distaste was the scene of Sara hooking up with Joe. what for eh? is there even any sparks of attraction resulting in chemistry here, or did i miss it? no reason. at all. as if the director/scriptwriter doing a list of things to keep viewers' interest. imagine this:
- time travel crap that even BW won't waste time explaining - check
- unnecessary frontal nudity - check
- even more unnecessary violence - check
- sex scenes - check
- substance abuse - check
- kid with extra special powers - check
- apa lagi ek?
to JGL's credit however, his acting is faultless. he even successfully adopts BW mannerisms to a tee. but his future fashion and hairstyles suck!
and why do these loopers keep using that eye drops that though get them high yet it cause them to be short-sighted. oii, that's not good for your profession really!
most of the time, i agreed with CinemaSin here. sigh. i wish i could go out and shoot the script down before it even got made!