Given the nature of this blog, let me start by saying that Looper (official site and trailer here) is not a film for all ages. It is dark, violent (including off-screen killings involving children), and foul-mouthed, with a little nudity thrown in to give it a solid R rating.
That said, it is also a thought-provoking treatment of time-travel, love and abandonment, and the lengths to which people might go to protect what is dear to them. In many movies involving time-travel (think Back to the Future or Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), the emphasis is on changing only what is necessary and avoiding any contact with one’s former or future self. This film takes the exact opposite approach, putting an older and younger version of the same man, a hired killer, in direct conflict with each other. This sets up a number of interesting topics to explore — for example:
- The older self has the advantage of knowing where the younger is and what he is doing, by virtue of the fact that the younger self’s actions become new memories for the older self.
- On the other hand, as these new memories come into conflict or replace old memories from the older self’s previously lived past, the older self experiences pain, confusion, and loss.
- And while the older self may think he’s securing the future of the younger self, the younger self has no knowledge of or desire for that future — he only knows what this interference by his older self is costing him now.
- A couple of other ideas are raised but relatively unexplored: If a man went back in time and did potentially great evil to secure some future good, would that good really be manifested? And if you were to kill a version of yourself to protect innocent lives, is it justifiable? Is it suicide?