I really want to like this movie.  The main story isn’t bad, acting is great, I like all the actors in it, and it has a decent amount of action.  But the time travel thing just blows it for me.

Mind you, the movie doesn’t waste a second trying to explain how time travel works.  In fact, there’s a scene where the writer(s) basically tell the audience “Hey, don’t think about time travel and paradoxes and all that crap…just concentrate on the story.”  And for most people that’s probably enough and it works.

BEGIN RANT (and some spoilers, too):

But for a geek like me, it didn’t take much pondering to realize that the organized criminals of 2070 have got to be the biggest idiots of the entire space-time continuum.  They control the most powerful technology ever developed and the best use they can come up with is to dispose of people they don’t like by sending them back in time to be shot by a ‘Looper’ and incinerated.  That’s it.

How about playing the stock market, or sports betting or playing the lottery?  Forget ordinary, every-day organized crime; you could make ridiculous amounts of untraceable money with a time machine.

Maybe there’s some kind of paradox thing that won’t let them do that.  Okay, fine.  But if you’re going to use time travel to kill people, why use other people to do the killing?  People are a failure point in any scheme.  But in the 2040’s they’ve got an entire sub-culture of Loopers, and it seems like everyone with even minor underworld connections knows what a Looper is, so it’s not exactly a state secret what’s going on (for that matter, where’s the FBI cracking down on all this organized crime, rampant police corruption and weird underworld rumors of time travel assassination?  – Hell, it sounds like an RPG campaign).  It appears the technology allows them to not only send people to different times, but to different places as well.  So why not cut out the Loopers and just send your hits into an active volcano, or the bottom of the Laurentian Abyss, or into orbit around the Earth, or back to the Jurrasic period?

But maybe these are traditional mafia guys who like to do things with a personal touch, the old fashioned way (even when they’re using time travel machines).  But then why make a Looper kill his own future self?  The first rule of assassination is kill the assassin, so it doesn’t surprise me that the future mafia eventually kill off their Loopers.  But making a Looper kill himself is just asking for trouble, especially when there are plenty of other Loopers who would be more than happy to do the job in their place.

When a Looper ‘closes’ his loop by killing his future self, he gets a big payoff and then spends the next 30 years living large.  But why wait 30 years to close the loop?  Isn’t this a 30 year security breach just waiting to happen (as the movie amply proves)?  Eventually a Looper is going to snitch, or snap or doing something really desperate and the whole scheme will fall apart.  So why not just kill the Looper in 2040 and be done with it (and avoid the few paradox repurcussions presented in the movie)?  It’s not as though the mafia is filled with an abudnance of sympathy and warm feelings.

This doesn’t even cover all the movie’s internal inconsistencies.  For example, the reason people are sent into the pass to be killed is because it’s almost impossible to dispose of a body in 2070 (due to the advanced state of forensic science, I guess).  Yet there’s a scene in the 2070’s where a person is shot and killed, and the body is disposed of in a house fire, not by sending the corpse back to 2040-whatever.

There’s plenty more to say on the movie’s (mis)use of time travel but I’m sure you get the point by now.


So, if you go see Looper, when it comes to the time travel aspects of the story just turn off your brain and accept it as presented.  And I hope I didn’t ruin it for you.


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