Films portraying time travel are always among the most fascinating – and fallible. There simply has to be illogicalities, but when viewing these kinds of films there's no point in getting too hung up on those. What's important is the logic within the illogical. And this is where Looper stands out as more tightknit and thrilling than most of its peers.
The penner and executionist is the young and talented Rian Johnson, and he's recruited the even younger and, much to some of his previous critics' surprise, equally talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead role. He plays a man in a not too distant post-apocalyptic future who works as a hitman – a "looper" – killing people sent back in time to him from the somewhat more distant future. Confused? Don't dispair - these mind-benders are much of the allure of Looper, and it gets even more intricate when it turns out that the mob from the future start sending the future, older versions of their loopers back to get killed by themselves - hence "closing the loop". Not surprisingly, it turns out that the future version of our protagonist (played by Bruce Willis) isn't too keen on being offed by his younger self.
There are plenty of films in this sub-genre that try to seem intelligent by obscuring and muddling its premise and plot, but although Looper isn't conpletely free of this, it shows a refreshing self-confidence in what it tries to do. And for a good reason, because despite the many loops (no pun intended) in the story's logic (arguably inevitable in any discussion of time travel), these are of a kind that makes you ponder and philosophize, not become annoyed by the idiocy of the plot, which on the contrary remains relevant and consistent throughout. I also liked Johnson's vision of the future – it's not distanced or robotic, like in so many other sci-fis; he understands that people will be people also in the future. And therefore, in the wake of the apocalypse this society has seen, people here are paranoid, aggressive and untrusting, but also warm and full of suppressed love and affection.
For most people, the finale will leave them with an ambivalent feeling, but that's easily forgettable when the compensation is a film which really challenges you both cerebrally and emotionally, and does this while being all the while entertaining.