|SONY PICTURES/ALAN MARKFIELD|
Bruce Willis, left, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are shown in a scene from "Looper."
"Looper" boasts an ingenius premise, a hook most other movies would introduce and simply coast on until the end. But writer-director Rian Johnson never stops working, using the science-fiction setup and trappings to delve into the characters and give us a story with some real meat.
"Looper" is the story of Joe. Actually, it's the story of two Joes—who really are the same Joe. One, in 2044, is a young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a junkie who works for a ruthless mob boss known as the Rainmaker—who's running things three decades from now. "Time travel hasn't been invented yet," Joe explains in voice-over, "but in 30 years, it will have been." Joe is a "looper," an executioner who eliminates whoever the future mob sends back in time, no questions asked. The mob literally makes its enemies disappear and rewards Joe handsomely. Each looper does this knowing his future self eventually will be delivered to him. He's expected to pull the trigger as he always does, take the hefty payout that comes along with it and live out his remaining days however he sees fit—until it's time for him to go back and close his loop.
Everybody got that? Good.