I saw Looper yesterday during my break between classes. I was pretty excited about it because I have been a big fan of Rian Johnson – both Brick (a twist on film noir) and The Brothers Bloom (a twist on a heist movie) were incredible.
Mr. Johnson did not let me down. The visuals were cool – I see that he still loves close-ups of people’s eyeballs as they wake up, and it was no surprise that the drugs of the future are administered by eyedropper.
What really had me interested in this movie, though, was how he was going to put a twist on the time travel movie. It is pretty difficult to address time travel paradoxes in a cool and smart way.
Future Joe (Bruce Willis) hand waves this away in the movie when Present Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) starts asking him questions, saying, “I don’t want to talk about time travel,” and “My memories are cloudy.” Finally, he reveals that his head is actually affected by the time paradox, so memories vary in cloudiness depending on the likelihood of their coming to pass for Present Joe, and once Present Joe has done something, it is clear like a real memory for Future Joe.
That, and the whole idea of “closing the loop” (killing your future self) versus “letting your loop run” (letting your future self get away) does not make sense to me. I believe in the idea of “you already changed the past,” meaning, if your future self got sent back in time and then messed up your life, you are not going to end up in the same place as that future self who got sent back to be assassinated.
This is explicit in the movie, where Present Joe is waiting around in the field for his next future victim, Future Joe is sent back, knocks him out, and then runs away. Then there is a time skip and Present Joe is waiting at the field again, only this time, he does kill Future Joe, collects his payment, and goes on through his life until he becomes Future Joe, who of course gets sent back.
Of course, if everything is predetermined, it makes for a boring story, so I can understand why liberties were taken.
I really want to compliment Grant Morrison for his amazing work on Bruce Wayne’s trip through time. He did not bother to meet with his young self when he went back in time, he had more important things to do, such as setting up the bat mythology with cavemen, Puritans, pirates, cowboys, and his parents’ generation to inspire his younger self to take up the mantle of the bat. Then he goes to the end of time and figures out a plan to save all of reality and put himself back in the present!
Present Joe/Robin might be a cool guy, but he has nothing on Batman!