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Posted by dabobsta (27 posts) -

In Rian Johnson’s first big budget Hollywood film he decides to reteam with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick) to create one of the best sci-fi films of the past decade. In Looper, Levitt plays a man named Joe who works for the mob in a squad of assassins known by the public as the titular “Loopers”. Levitt delivers a rock solid performance and guides you through the universe Johnson creates with charismatic ease. While Levitt might be the star Bruce Willis steals the show as the older Joe who is transported back in time as a hit for Joe but has a secret agenda of his own. The plot Is intricately planned out and takes many unexpected twists and turns that leads up to a heart-wrenching ending. This film is practically perfect in every way and Rian Johnson is proving to be one of the most talented and diverse directors of this past decade.

#1 Posted by dabobsta (27 posts) -

In Rian Johnson’s first big budget Hollywood film he decides to reteam with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick) to create one of the best sci-fi films of the past decade. In Looper, Levitt plays a man named Joe who works for the mob in a squad of assassins known by the public as the titular “Loopers”. Levitt delivers a rock solid performance and guides you through the universe Johnson creates with charismatic ease. While Levitt might be the star Bruce Willis steals the show as the older Joe who is transported back in time as a hit for Joe but has a secret agenda of his own. The plot Is intricately planned out and takes many unexpected twists and turns that leads up to a heart-wrenching ending. This film is practically perfect in every way and Rian Johnson is proving to be one of the most talented and diverse directors of this past decade.

#2 Posted by SSully (4276 posts) -

I would agree, it was a great movie.

I am a bit confused with this post though, should we be posting similar reviews, or are you just giving us what you did? Also it sounds like a description on the back of the box or a movie site, which could be a good thing.

#3 Edited by dabobsta (27 posts) -

Oh no I just like to post 1 paragraph reviews because I want to be an entertainment journalist when I'm older so this is an exercise on being concise.

Oh yeah this was a blog post that I just decided to put on a forum.

#4 Posted by Iodine (551 posts) -

I am defiantly in the minority and I wanted to like the movie, but the plot/action had me laughing more than anything.

I really did not like their version of the future since it was pretty much the same as today but MAN SHITS GHETTO AND GUNS ARE WORSE HOVERBIKES AND DRUGS IN EYES, and that kid? I was saying shoot the kid from the first scene he was in.

#5 Posted by jayjonesjunior (1094 posts) -

@Iodine said:

I am defiantly in the minority and I wanted to like the movie, but the plot/action had me laughing more than anything.

I really did not like their version of the future since it was pretty much the same as today but MAN SHITS GHETTO AND GUNS ARE WORSE HOVERBIKES AND DRUGS IN EYES, and that kid? I was saying shoot the kid from the first scene he was in.

come back here in 2040 and tell me if the future turned out any different from the movie.

#6 Edited by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

I'm sorry, but I have to completely disagree: I thought this movie was quite terrible in all honesty.

My thoughts in the spoiler block blow.

I can't remember the last time a movie has had to rely so heavily on a narrator. The movie would start, and you'd get Joseph Gordon-Levitt basically reading his lines off a script: "In the future time travel will be invented, and then immediately outlawed. However mob bosses will use it to send the people they want to dispose of back in time to a group of assassins known as Loopers. You see, in the future it is nearly impossible to get rid of a body thanks to tracking technology so the mob bosses hid them in the past, and I've killed someone who technically doesn't exist yet".

The movie goes on, you meet the guy who runs the Loopers, and then you get more narration: "That's Abe. He was sent from the future to organize the Loopers, but that is a piss-easy job so he has also taken over the city. In any other city this would be impressive". The movie goes on, and then you find out some people have superpowers, and, you guessed it, more narration: "It was discovered 10% of the population had developed telekinetic powers. At first everyone thought we would get a whole bunch of superheroes, but it turned out it's mostly used by guys trying to impress girls"

The thing that got to me is that 99% of the narration has little to no bearing on the movie itself. Abe having taken over the city doesn't factor into the story at all, and the only purpose of the whole TK thing was to have some way of immediately identifying this kid as the one who is going to grow up as this future big bad. The narration also doesn't make a whole lot of sense seeing as Joseph Gordon-Levitt is dead by the end of the movie.

Of course, the movie never really takes the time to explain how the time-travel works, or the rules they are working from. Bruce WIllis manages to escape the people who are trying to send him back in time, but gets sent back anyway, and this somehow causes him to turn up in the past slightly later than originally intended. That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, since he should be sent back to the correct time regardless of when in the future he is sent back (and no, the movie never explains why that happens).

I'm sorry, but what twists and turns are you talking about? The kid turning out to be the Rain Maker? I had worked that one out as soon as I saw the kid. The kid becoming the Rain Maker, because of future Joe's actions? That's a pretty standard time-travel plot (someone going back in time to stop something winds up causing it). Of course that creates the biggest problem of the movie. If Joe only got sent back in time because of the Rain Maker, but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time, how does that work? Both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other.

All in all, I found this movie to be quite safe; little more than a tired plot, and anything that could have been interesting about the movie was sadly not included. The movie barely even does anything with the whole time-travel concept. Aside from one or two scenes, the older Joe could have been a completely different character, and the movie wouldn't have needed changing one bit.

Also, slight correction: the Loopers are not known by the public at all. It's kind of the whole point of sending the future version back to be killed by their past self to keep them from ever blabbing about what they do.

#7 Edited by John1912 (1928 posts) -

Yea, the plot was not exactly great. Nothing about the world is fleshed out. Actually everything in the film was hugely glossed over, and only their to provide a semblance of a foundation for the main story. Lol if you look up the word Macguffin it should say see Looper. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGuffin

#8 Edited by coaxmetal (1647 posts) -

The movie was fun, but not great. The plot had tons of holes, you have to actively ignore them to enjoy it at all (which is the case with most plots centered around time travel). The action wasn't bad, and JGL and Willis were good and all, but it certainly wasn't any kind of tour de force. I''d probably give it a 3/5.

e: now if you want to see a movie that does time-travel without fucking up the plot, I'd suggest 12 Monkeys. A great film.

#9 Posted by dabobsta (27 posts) -

@Riboflavin said:

The movie was fun, but not great. The plot had tons of holes, you have to actively ignore them to enjoy it at all (which is the case with most plots centered around time travel). The action wasn't bad, and JGL and Willis were good and all, but it certainly wasn't any kind of tour de force. I''d probably give it a 3/5.

e: now if you want to see a movie that does time-travel without fucking up the plot, I'd suggest 12 Monkeys. A great film.

Terry Gilliam is a genius.

#10 Posted by Demoskinos (15111 posts) -

I think its the best movie I've seen all year. Sure, you can poke holes in in if you scrutinize it enough but its still a fun romp that has some great acting and pretty good emotional weight to the conclusion.

#11 Posted by dabobsta (27 posts) -

@FlarePhoenix said:

I'm sorry, but I have to completely disagree: I thought this movie was quite terrible in all honesty.

My thoughts in the spoiler block blow.

I can't remember the last time a movie has had to rely so heavily on a narrator. The movie would start, and you'd get Joseph Gordon-Levitt basically reading his lines off a script: "In the future time travel will be invented, and then immediately outlawed. However mob bosses will use it to send the people they want to dispose of back in time to a group of assassins known as Loopers. You see, in the future it is nearly impossible to get rid of a body thanks to tracking technology so the mob bosses hid them in the past, and I've killed someone who technically doesn't exist yet".

The movie goes on, you meet the guy who runs the Loopers, and then you get more narration: "That's Abe. He was sent from the future to organize the Loopers, but that is a piss-easy job so he has also taken over the city. In any other city this would be impressive". The movie goes on, and then you find out some people have superpowers, and, you guessed it, more narration: "It was discovered 10% of the population had developed telekinetic powers. At first everyone thought we would get a whole bunch of superheroes, but it turned out it's mostly used by guys trying to impress girls"

The thing that got to me is that 99% of the narration has little to no bearing on the movie itself. Abe having taken over the city doesn't factor into the story at all, and the only purpose of the whole TK thing was to have some way of immediately identifying this kid as the one who is going to grow up as this future big bad. The narration also doesn't make a whole lot of sense seeing as Joseph Gordon-Levitt is dead by the end of the movie.

Of course, the movie never really takes the time to explain how the time-travel works, or the rules they are working from. Bruce WIllis manages to escape the people who are trying to send him back in time, but gets sent back anyway, and this somehow causes him to turn up in the past slightly later than originally intended. That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, since he should be sent back to the correct time regardless of when in the future he is sent back (and no, the movie never explains why that happens).

I'm sorry, but what twists and turns are you talking about? The kid turning out to be the Rain Maker? I had worked that one out as soon as I saw the kid. The kid becoming the Rain Maker, because of future Joe's actions? That's a pretty standard time-travel plot (someone going back in time to stop something winds up causing it). Of course that creates the biggest problem of the movie. If Joe only got sent back in time because of the Rain Maker, but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time, how does that work? Both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other.

All in all, I found this movie to be quite safe; little more than a tired plot, and anything that could have been interesting about the movie was sadly not included. The movie barely even does anything with the whole time-travel concept. Aside from one or two scenes, the older Joe could have been a completely different character, and the movie wouldn't have needed changing one bit.

Also, slight correction: the Loopers are not known by the public at all. It's kind of the whole point of sending the future version back to be killed by their past self to keep them from ever blabbing about what they do.

A. The movie is basically in three acts (Young Joe, Old Joe, Rainmaker) and the narration only takes place in the first act. As for the example you gave being useless, Abe owning the city meant that the Loopers were able to do what they wanted without getting caught.

B. You seem to be missing the point of the movie. It is about breaking the loop. All three of the main characters are dealing with their own ways to try and resolve the loop so they can accomplish what they want but at the end Young Joe finally comes to his senses and realizes that he can stop the loop.

#12 Posted by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

@dabobsta said:

@FlarePhoenix said:

I'm sorry, but I have to completely disagree: I thought this movie was quite terrible in all honesty.

My thoughts in the spoiler block blow.

I can't remember the last time a movie has had to rely so heavily on a narrator. The movie would start, and you'd get Joseph Gordon-Levitt basically reading his lines off a script: "In the future time travel will be invented, and then immediately outlawed. However mob bosses will use it to send the people they want to dispose of back in time to a group of assassins known as Loopers. You see, in the future it is nearly impossible to get rid of a body thanks to tracking technology so the mob bosses hid them in the past, and I've killed someone who technically doesn't exist yet".

The movie goes on, you meet the guy who runs the Loopers, and then you get more narration: "That's Abe. He was sent from the future to organize the Loopers, but that is a piss-easy job so he has also taken over the city. In any other city this would be impressive". The movie goes on, and then you find out some people have superpowers, and, you guessed it, more narration: "It was discovered 10% of the population had developed telekinetic powers. At first everyone thought we would get a whole bunch of superheroes, but it turned out it's mostly used by guys trying to impress girls"

The thing that got to me is that 99% of the narration has little to no bearing on the movie itself. Abe having taken over the city doesn't factor into the story at all, and the only purpose of the whole TK thing was to have some way of immediately identifying this kid as the one who is going to grow up as this future big bad. The narration also doesn't make a whole lot of sense seeing as Joseph Gordon-Levitt is dead by the end of the movie.

Of course, the movie never really takes the time to explain how the time-travel works, or the rules they are working from. Bruce WIllis manages to escape the people who are trying to send him back in time, but gets sent back anyway, and this somehow causes him to turn up in the past slightly later than originally intended. That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, since he should be sent back to the correct time regardless of when in the future he is sent back (and no, the movie never explains why that happens).

I'm sorry, but what twists and turns are you talking about? The kid turning out to be the Rain Maker? I had worked that one out as soon as I saw the kid. The kid becoming the Rain Maker, because of future Joe's actions? That's a pretty standard time-travel plot (someone going back in time to stop something winds up causing it). Of course that creates the biggest problem of the movie. If Joe only got sent back in time because of the Rain Maker, but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time, how does that work? Both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other.

All in all, I found this movie to be quite safe; little more than a tired plot, and anything that could have been interesting about the movie was sadly not included. The movie barely even does anything with the whole time-travel concept. Aside from one or two scenes, the older Joe could have been a completely different character, and the movie wouldn't have needed changing one bit.

Also, slight correction: the Loopers are not known by the public at all. It's kind of the whole point of sending the future version back to be killed by their past self to keep them from ever blabbing about what they do.

A. The movie is basically in three acts (Young Joe, Old Joe, Rainmaker) and the narration only takes place in the first act. As for the example you gave being useless, Abe owning the city meant that the Loopers were able to do what they wanted without getting caught.

B. You seem to be missing the point of the movie. It is about breaking the loop. All three of the main characters are dealing with their own ways to try and resolve the loop so they can accomplish what they want but at the end Young Joe finally comes to his senses and realizes that he can stop the loop.

A. Yes, and there is still far too much narration. Just because the movie runs out of things to explain during the first act doesn't excuse the clunkiness of the narration. Not to mention, it does pop up later on in the movie because we're apparently too stupid to follow things, we need to be directly told.

The scene where Joe shoots himself to stop his future self could have been very powerful if it wasn't for the narration just spelling out exactly what was going on and why.

Also, the narration was mostly useless. Tell me, what exactly would have changed if the narration didn't tell us Abe had taken over the city. The Loopers were a secret organisation, and the public were mostly unaware of their actions. There is no point in the movie where Abe having taken over the city plays any sort of relevance.

B. I really hate when people try to tell me I just didn't get a movie. It is a weak argument at best, and kind of arrogent at its worst. I'll assure you right now, I got the movie. It is not saying anything deep or complicated. What exactly in what I said makes you think I didn't get the movie? I mean the movie beats you over the head with it by calling the whole process "breaking the loop".

#13 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

I was onboard with Bruce Willis murdering kids, but as soon as there was a kid onscreen for more than ten seconds that Bruce Willis didn't murder, I checked out.

The one positive thing I have to say about Looper is that explained time travel in a great way: "Don't worry about it." Much better than taking a pseudointellectual approach and trying to get all sciency about it.

#14 Edited by Wrighteous86 (3821 posts) -

@dabobsta said:

In Rian Johnson’s first big budget Hollywood film he decides to reteam with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick) to create one of the best sci-fi films of the past decade. In Looper, Levitt plays a man named Joe who works for the mob in a squad of assassins known by the public as the titular “Loopers”. Levitt delivers a rock solid performance and guides you through the universe Johnson creates with charismatic ease. While Levitt might be the star Bruce Willis steals the show as the older Joe who is transported back in time as a hit for Joe but has a secret agenda of his own. The plot Is intricately planned out and takes many unexpected twists and turns that leads up to a heart-wrenching ending. This film is practically perfect in every way and Rian Johnson is proving to be one of the most talented and diverse directors of this past decade.

Maybe don't quote Mary Poppins in your reviews if you want to be taken seriously.

#15 Posted by TheHT (11686 posts) -

This movie is the unholy lovechild of Terminator and Akira.

@FlarePhoenix said:

I'm sorry, but I have to completely disagree: I thought this movie was quite terrible in all honesty.

My thoughts in the spoiler block blow.

I can't remember the last time a movie has had to rely so heavily on a narrator. The movie would start, and you'd get Joseph Gordon-Levitt basically reading his lines off a script: "In the future time travel will be invented, and then immediately outlawed. However mob bosses will use it to send the people they want to dispose of back in time to a group of assassins known as Loopers. You see, in the future it is nearly impossible to get rid of a body thanks to tracking technology so the mob bosses hid them in the past, and I've killed someone who technically doesn't exist yet".

The movie goes on, you meet the guy who runs the Loopers, and then you get more narration: "That's Abe. He was sent from the future to organize the Loopers, but that is a piss-easy job so he has also taken over the city. In any other city this would be impressive". The movie goes on, and then you find out some people have superpowers, and, you guessed it, more narration: "It was discovered 10% of the population had developed telekinetic powers. At first everyone thought we would get a whole bunch of superheroes, but it turned out it's mostly used by guys trying to impress girls"

The thing that got to me is that 99% of the narration has little to no bearing on the movie itself. Abe having taken over the city doesn't factor into the story at all, and the only purpose of the whole TK thing was to have some way of immediately identifying this kid as the one who is going to grow up as this future big bad. The narration also doesn't make a whole lot of sense seeing as Joseph Gordon-Levitt is dead by the end of the movie.

Of course, the movie never really takes the time to explain how the time-travel works, or the rules they are working from. Bruce WIllis manages to escape the people who are trying to send him back in time, but gets sent back anyway, and this somehow causes him to turn up in the past slightly later than originally intended. That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, since he should be sent back to the correct time regardless of when in the future he is sent back (and no, the movie never explains why that happens).

I'm sorry, but what twists and turns are you talking about? The kid turning out to be the Rain Maker? I had worked that one out as soon as I saw the kid. The kid becoming the Rain Maker, because of future Joe's actions? That's a pretty standard time-travel plot (someone going back in time to stop something winds up causing it). Of course that creates the biggest problem of the movie. If Joe only got sent back in time because of the Rain Maker, but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time, how does that work? Both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other.

All in all, I found this movie to be quite safe; little more than a tired plot, and anything that could have been interesting about the movie was sadly not included. The movie barely even does anything with the whole time-travel concept. Aside from one or two scenes, the older Joe could have been a completely different character, and the movie wouldn't have needed changing one bit.

Also, slight correction: the Loopers are not known by the public at all. It's kind of the whole point of sending the future version back to be killed by their past self to keep them from ever blabbing about what they do.

You're operating under the assumption that things are destined to happen in this world. Old Joe says himself that what happened in his lifetime, upon travelling back, are just one possible eventuality. When things happen that cause his memories of his wife to fade, he's still able to hold onto his personal memory from his own history, yet things in Young Joe's life are very clearly not following the same path (which is of course what's causing the changes).

So things never have to follow along any particular path. Just so, Old Joe in one timeline is able to overpower his capturers but in another is subdued (i.e., Old Joe's actual past where he "closed his loop" and grew old).

That physical changes to Young Joe are able to affect Old Joe (in addition to the changes in memory), means we can't be dealing with a parallel dimensions situation where Old Joe would be a foreign entity wholly unaffected by the events of his destination dimension.

So in this world, a) not all things are fated to happen and b) it's a single timeline.

That said, the most glaring problem with the movie would be Cyd becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe, yet still existing in Old Joe's history. The most important thing to keep in mind there is that it's because of the actions of Young Joe that Cyd was led to the situation where he accepted Sarah as his mom. Otherwise he would likely still have been that angry kid who killed his aunt (and believed her to be his mom) and grows up into the Rainmaker.

QED, Old Joe's efforts to stop Cyd would have had the same end result (the Holy Reign of Terror). But Young Joe, being in the position this whole mess put him in, was given an opportunity to potentially stop Cyd, and took it.

Bittersweet ending, roll credits.

#16 Posted by spiceninja (3065 posts) -

My favorite part was when anyone brought up time travel someone would always say "Shut up, I'm not talking about time travel. It's confusing."

#17 Posted by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

@TheHT said:

This movie is the unholy lovechild of Terminator and Akira.

@FlarePhoenix said:

I'm sorry, but I have to completely disagree: I thought this movie was quite terrible in all honesty.

My thoughts in the spoiler block blow.

I can't remember the last time a movie has had to rely so heavily on a narrator. The movie would start, and you'd get Joseph Gordon-Levitt basically reading his lines off a script: "In the future time travel will be invented, and then immediately outlawed. However mob bosses will use it to send the people they want to dispose of back in time to a group of assassins known as Loopers. You see, in the future it is nearly impossible to get rid of a body thanks to tracking technology so the mob bosses hid them in the past, and I've killed someone who technically doesn't exist yet".

The movie goes on, you meet the guy who runs the Loopers, and then you get more narration: "That's Abe. He was sent from the future to organize the Loopers, but that is a piss-easy job so he has also taken over the city. In any other city this would be impressive". The movie goes on, and then you find out some people have superpowers, and, you guessed it, more narration: "It was discovered 10% of the population had developed telekinetic powers. At first everyone thought we would get a whole bunch of superheroes, but it turned out it's mostly used by guys trying to impress girls"

The thing that got to me is that 99% of the narration has little to no bearing on the movie itself. Abe having taken over the city doesn't factor into the story at all, and the only purpose of the whole TK thing was to have some way of immediately identifying this kid as the one who is going to grow up as this future big bad. The narration also doesn't make a whole lot of sense seeing as Joseph Gordon-Levitt is dead by the end of the movie.

Of course, the movie never really takes the time to explain how the time-travel works, or the rules they are working from. Bruce WIllis manages to escape the people who are trying to send him back in time, but gets sent back anyway, and this somehow causes him to turn up in the past slightly later than originally intended. That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, since he should be sent back to the correct time regardless of when in the future he is sent back (and no, the movie never explains why that happens).

I'm sorry, but what twists and turns are you talking about? The kid turning out to be the Rain Maker? I had worked that one out as soon as I saw the kid. The kid becoming the Rain Maker, because of future Joe's actions? That's a pretty standard time-travel plot (someone going back in time to stop something winds up causing it). Of course that creates the biggest problem of the movie. If Joe only got sent back in time because of the Rain Maker, but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time, how does that work? Both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other.

All in all, I found this movie to be quite safe; little more than a tired plot, and anything that could have been interesting about the movie was sadly not included. The movie barely even does anything with the whole time-travel concept. Aside from one or two scenes, the older Joe could have been a completely different character, and the movie wouldn't have needed changing one bit.

Also, slight correction: the Loopers are not known by the public at all. It's kind of the whole point of sending the future version back to be killed by their past self to keep them from ever blabbing about what they do.

You're operating under the assumption that things are destined to happen in this world. Old Joe says himself that what happened in his lifetime, upon travelling back, are just one possible eventuality. When things happen that cause his memories of his wife to fade, he's still able to hold onto his personal memory from his own history, yet things in Young Joe's life are very clearly not following the same path (which is of course what's causing the changes).

So things never have to follow along any particular path. Just so, Old Joe in one timeline is able to overpower his capturers but in another is subdued (i.e., Old Joe's actual past where he "closed his loop" and grew old).

That physical changes to Young Joe are able to affect Old Joe (in addition to the changes in memory), means we can't be dealing with a parallel dimensions situation where Old Joe would be a foreign entity wholly unaffected by the events of his destination dimension.

So in this world, a) not all things are fated to happen and b) it's a single timeline.

That said, the most glaring problem with the movie would be Cyd becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe, yet still existing in Old Joe's history. The most important thing to keep in mind there is that it's because of the actions of Young Joe that Cyd was led to the situation where he accepted Sarah as his mom. Otherwise he would likely still have been that angry kid who killed his aunt (and believed her to be his mom) and grows up into the Rainmaker.

QED, Old Joe's efforts to stop Cyd would have had the same end result (the Holy Reign of Terror). But Young Joe, being in the position this whole mess put him in, was given an opportunity to potentially stop Cyd, and took it.

Bittersweet ending, roll credits.

Sorry, but nothing you said had anything to do with any of the points I made (aside from being about the same movie, obviously). Not to mention the fact you contradict yourself in your own argument. You talk about what happens to old Joe in two different timelines (one where he overpowers his captors, and another where he is subdued), but then you go on to say the movie only has one timeline.

My problems with the movie stem from the over-reliance of the narrator (think about everything we know in the movie, and tell me how much of what we know didn't come from the movie just outright telling us. Unless I'm forgetting something, I would say nothing). Not just that, the narrator ruined the tension of a lot of scenes. The final scene could have been really powerful, but it was ruined because the movie was spelling out exactly what was happening. The movie fails the most basic rule of film: show, don't tell.

I don't think I mentioned anything about believing things were destined to happen in the movie. The problem with Cyd becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe's actions is it makes no sense. Old Joe only got sent back in time because Cyd became the Rainmaker and started closing loops, but Cyd only became the Rainmaker and started closing loops because Old Joe got sent back in time and tried to kill him. Neither event could occur without the other occurring first, and the movie never explains how it could work.

So yeah, I'm sorry but I have no idea what point you were trying to make. It didn't seem to have anything to do with anything I said (again, aside from been about the same movie obviously).

#18 Edited by Veektarius (4984 posts) -

This conversation has devolved into spoilers, so I'll use them too. Spoilers.

I gave this movie a 7/10. I really liked the setup, and I think I was on board for a 10/10 experience until maybe the diner scene with the two Joes. Then, the screenplay throws out the fairly interesting vision of the future it had, kills it with a machine gun (via Bruce Willis) in a ridiculous scene. (Seriously, is there any reason we believe that he can accomplish his massacre other than that he's Bruce Willis?) Then the rest of the movie takes place on a farm that might as well not be in the future at all. I was totally checked out at that point.

#19 Posted by TheHT (11686 posts) -

@FlarePhoenix:

"Of course, the movie never really takes the time to explain how the time-travel works, or the rules they are working from."

"Of course that creates the biggest problem of the movie. If Joe only got sent back in time because of the Rain Maker, but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time, how does that work? Both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other."

Those are the things you said that I was responding to. Notice I didn't comment on your narration beef because, well, frankly I don't care if you don't like the narration. I'm not gonna try and convince you that the narration is fine if it's something you just don't like it for whatever reason.

My response explained the way time travel seems to work in Looper, addressing the first quote. And you're right, my lackluster phrasing creates a contradiction. I'll clarify by saying that it's definitely one timeline, but nothing is destined to happen in that timeline. So Old Joe can, at the particular point in the timeline, fail to overpower his kidnappers and be sent back and killed. The result is that Young Joe 'closes his loop' and lives his life to that particular point in the timeline where he fights his kidnappers, but at that point may overpower them and go back and not get killed (and so the movie goes). One timeline, but one where actions are not set in stone.

That was to illustrate how Old Joe's actions creating the Rainmaker isn't necessarily the only way Cyd ends up becoming the Rainmaker. In Old Joe's history, he never encountered Sara and Cyd, yet the Rainmaker still came to power in Old Joe's history. In Old Joe's efforts to stop Cyd from the Rainmaker, were Young Joe not to stop him, he would have ended up creating the Rainmaker, yes, but to imply that that particular causal chain is the sole explanation for the creation of the Rainmaker is to pressupose a fatalistic nature to the universe (the universe according to Looper, at least).

Of the second quote the "but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time" part is where I interpreted the destiny bit from. Also "both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other" which solidifies the connection between the events as if it were set in stone. But in order to explain away destiny I had to explain how things can change (Old Joe's history, the entirety of the movie) which was fine because I had to in order to address your first quote.

So my post:

  1. sought to explain the 'rules' of time travel in Looper
  2. showed why the Old Joe/Rainmaker connection isn't actually a problem

I hope this post made more clear the relevance of my previous one, and also helped clarify my prior explanations.

#20 Posted by EVO (3932 posts) -

@dabobsta said: 

In Rian Johnson’s first big budget Hollywood film

False. The Brother Bloom was his first.

Anyway, I really enjoyed Looper. In particular the first act. I just wish I hadn't seen the trailer beforehand, because that moment when he realizes he has to

that would've been a real HOLY SHIT moment in the cinema had I not seen it coming.
#21 Posted by project343 (2837 posts) -

@FlarePhoenix said:

My problems with the movie stem from the over-reliance of the narrator (think about everything we know in the movie, and tell me how much of what we know didn't come from the movie just outright telling us. Unless I'm forgetting something, I would say nothing). Not just that, the narrator ruined the tension of a lot of scenes. The final scene could have been really powerful, but it was ruined because the movie was spelling out exactly what was happening. The movie fails the most basic rule of film: show, don't tell.

I don't think I mentioned anything about believing things were destined to happen in the movie. The problem with Cyd becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe's actions is it makes no sense. Old Joe only got sent back in time because Cyd became the Rainmaker and started closing loops, but Cyd only became the Rainmaker and started closing loops because Old Joe got sent back in time and tried to kill him. Neither event could occur without the other occurring first, and the movie never explains how it could work.

Fantasy and sci-fi films almost always hamfist their world building into atrociously unrealistic dialogue. Either that, or they go out of their way to contrive events that add nothing to the plot in favour of world building. I would much rather take quick 15 second narrations here and there over muddling the entire narrative arc. The other solution is to force in overused mental images... an equally lazy and tasteless effort. The narration, in this context, feels a lot more like a risky reasoning process rather than the prophetic imagery that the visual alternative would characterize.

They never explicitly say how the Rainmaker becomes the Rainmaker under the base timeline, correct? For all we know, she could have died some other way. What Young Joe reasoned was one potential source of this negative origin. Time travel is always a plothole disaster, but you are making assumptions in murky, undefined time-bending territory. But I'm sure you'll fault the film for that.

#22 Posted by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

@TheHT said:

@FlarePhoenix:

"Of course, the movie never really takes the time to explain how the time-travel works, or the rules they are working from."

"Of course that creates the biggest problem of the movie. If Joe only got sent back in time because of the Rain Maker, but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time, how does that work? Both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other."

Those are the things you said that I was responding to. Notice I didn't comment on your narration beef because, well, frankly I don't care if you don't like the narration. I'm not gonna try and convince you that the narration is fine if it's something you just don't like it for whatever reason.

My response explained the way time travel seems to work in Looper, addressing the first quote. And you're right, my lackluster phrasing creates a contradiction. I'll clarify by saying that it's definitely one timeline, but nothing is destined to happen in that timeline. So Old Joe can, at the particular point in the timeline, fail to overpower his kidnappers and be sent back and killed. The result is that Young Joe 'closes his loop' and lives his life to that particular point in the timeline where he fights his kidnappers, but at that point may overpower them and go back and not get killed (and so the movie goes). One timeline, but one where actions are not set in stone.

That was to illustrate how Old Joe's actions creating the Rainmaker isn't necessarily the only way Cyd ends up becoming the Rainmaker. In Old Joe's history, he never encountered Sara and Cyd, yet the Rainmaker still came to power in Old Joe's history. In Old Joe's efforts to stop Cyd from the Rainmaker, were Young Joe not to stop him, he would have ended up creating the Rainmaker, yes, but to imply that that particular causal chain is the sole explanation for the creation of the Rainmaker is to pressupose a fatalistic nature to the universe (the universe according to Looper, at least).

Of the second quote the "but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time" part is where I interpreted the destiny bit from. Also "both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other" which solidifies the connection between the events as if it were set in stone. But in order to explain away destiny I had to explain how things can change (Old Joe's history, the entirety of the movie) which was fine because I had to in order to address your first quote.

So my post:

  1. sought to explain the 'rules' of time travel in Looper
  2. showed why the Old Joe/Rainmaker connection isn't actually a problem

I hope this post made more clear the relevance of my previous one, and also helped clarify my prior explanations.

From what I remember, the only thing the movie really explains about the time travel is, changes in the past have an immediate and linear effect on the future (like when that one future guy was losing limbs as his younger self was getting them cut off (of course, I would argue that as soon as he lost one limb he should have disappeared altogether, but that's an entirely different debate).

I just looked over my original post again, and I never really expressed a problem with the future having different possible outcomes, did I? My problem, in relation to Old Joe overpowering his captors but getting sent back anyway, was the fact him doing so caused him to appear in the past later than Young Joe expected. I mean it's possible time travel works by sending them back a specific length of time (rather than sending them back to a set time), but I feel that's something the movie should explain. The movie expects us to just accept a large portion of it without offering any explanation behind it.

@project343 said:

They never explicitly say how the Rainmaker becomes the Rainmaker under the base timeline, correct? For all we know, she could have died some other way. What Young Joe reasoned was one potential source of this negative origin. Time travel is always a plothole disaster, but you are making assumptions in murky, undefined time-bending territory. But I'm sure you'll fault the film for that.

Yes, it is entirely possible Cyd could have become the Rainmaker through some other series of events. However, wasn't the big twist of the movie Old Joe's actions directly causing the creation of the Rainmaker? It kind of diminishes the reveal if you take it as "well this is one way it could happen", doesn't it? Besides, didn't Cyd start closing loops because he was angry that Old Joe, a looper, killed his mother? Why would he be closing the loops if his mother wasn't killed by a Looper? If Cyd could become the Rainmaker by some event not involving Old Joe, wouldn't Young Joe shooting himself be entirely pointless? Not to mention, the one thing we know about the Rainmaker's appearance before we find out who he is, is the fact he has an artificial jaw (which we learn was also from Joe when he tried to shoot him but only hit his mouth). So if we go on the basis that an entirely different set of events took place, but caused the same thing to happen, that's getting a bit too coincidental for my liking.

#23 Posted by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

@project343 said:

Fantasy and sci-fi films almost always hamfist their world building into atrociously unrealistic dialogue. Either that, or they go out of their way to contrive events that add nothing to the plot in favour of world building. I would much rather take quick 15 second narrations here and there over muddling the entire narrative arc. The other solution is to force in overused mental images... an equally lazy and tasteless effort. The narration, in this context, feels a lot more like a risky reasoning process rather than the prophetic imagery that the visual alternative would characterize.

Time travel is always a plothole disaster, but you are making assumptions in murky, undefined time-bending territory. But I'm sure you'll fault the film for that.

Well just because most movies in the genre handle it badly doesn't mean I have to accept the fact this movie does as well. It's not like there aren't less clunky ways to get the information across. You could have easily had the fact Abe had taken over the city revealed in the conversation between Abe and Young Joe, for example. It may still come across as clunky and forced, but it would be better than the narration. Especially since, if Joe dies at the end of the movie, how exactly was he narrating it the whole time?

Oh, believe me, I could go a lot further on how the time travel just doesn't work. For example, Young Joe killing himself really accomplishes nothing since the future will now be Cid not becoming the Rainmaker and therefore not closing loops. Which would mean Joe would never get sent back in time, which would mean the events of the movie never happened and Young Joe had no reason to kill himself, which would mean Cid would become the Rainmaker and send Joe back in time causing the events to happen again.

Yeah, time travel is confusing as hell, which is why you need to set up boundaries and rules. It's really difficult to remove every plot hole when it comes to time travel, but this movie doesn't even seem to try. There are too many ways in which the events of the movie simply do not work. As I said, this movie just kind of expects you to accept what happens.

#24 Posted by TheHT (11686 posts) -

@FlarePhoenix said:

@TheHT said:

@FlarePhoenix:

"Of course, the movie never really takes the time to explain how the time-travel works, or the rules they are working from."

"Of course that creates the biggest problem of the movie. If Joe only got sent back in time because of the Rain Maker, but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time, how does that work? Both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other."

Those are the things you said that I was responding to. Notice I didn't comment on your narration beef because, well, frankly I don't care if you don't like the narration. I'm not gonna try and convince you that the narration is fine if it's something you just don't like it for whatever reason.

My response explained the way time travel seems to work in Looper, addressing the first quote. And you're right, my lackluster phrasing creates a contradiction. I'll clarify by saying that it's definitely one timeline, but nothing is destined to happen in that timeline. So Old Joe can, at the particular point in the timeline, fail to overpower his kidnappers and be sent back and killed. The result is that Young Joe 'closes his loop' and lives his life to that particular point in the timeline where he fights his kidnappers, but at that point may overpower them and go back and not get killed (and so the movie goes). One timeline, but one where actions are not set in stone.

That was to illustrate how Old Joe's actions creating the Rainmaker isn't necessarily the only way Cyd ends up becoming the Rainmaker. In Old Joe's history, he never encountered Sara and Cyd, yet the Rainmaker still came to power in Old Joe's history. In Old Joe's efforts to stop Cyd from the Rainmaker, were Young Joe not to stop him, he would have ended up creating the Rainmaker, yes, but to imply that that particular causal chain is the sole explanation for the creation of the Rainmaker is to pressupose a fatalistic nature to the universe (the universe according to Looper, at least).

Of the second quote the "but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time" part is where I interpreted the destiny bit from. Also "both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other" which solidifies the connection between the events as if it were set in stone. But in order to explain away destiny I had to explain how things can change (Old Joe's history, the entirety of the movie) which was fine because I had to in order to address your first quote.

So my post:

  1. sought to explain the 'rules' of time travel in Looper
  2. showed why the Old Joe/Rainmaker connection isn't actually a problem

I hope this post made more clear the relevance of my previous one, and also helped clarify my prior explanations.

From what I remember, the only thing the movie really explains about the time travel is, changes in the past have an immediate and linear effect on the future (like when that one future guy was losing limbs as his younger self was getting them cut off (of course, I would argue that as soon as he lost one limb he should have disappeared altogether, but that's an entirely different debate).

I just looked over my original post again, and I never really expressed a problem with the future having different possible outcomes, did I? My problem, in relation to Old Joe overpowering his captors but getting sent back anyway, was the fact him doing so caused him to appear in the past later than Young Joe expected. I mean it's possible time travel works by sending them back a specific length of time (rather than sending them back to a set time), but I feel that's something the movie should explain. The movie expects us to just accept a large portion of it without offering any explanation behind it.

The only thing the movie explains is that Old Joes history once he comes back becomes "fuzzy" and only a possibility, that he can remember things that Young Joe does after he does them, and then the obvious physical changes of the Young affecting the Old. Everything else is implied, but it's enough to form a pretty good idea of time travel in that universe.

My explaining the different outcomes was a part of me explaining the rules of time travel in the Looper universe. I looked at that scene again, and the time is the exact same both when Old Joe goes back and survivies and when Old Joe (or Old Old Joe if you'd like) goes back and dies. Just over 4:30PM.

#25 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -
@jayjonesjunior said:

@Iodine said:

I am defiantly in the minority and I wanted to like the movie, but the plot/action had me laughing more than anything.

I really did not like their version of the future since it was pretty much the same as today but MAN SHITS GHETTO AND GUNS ARE WORSE HOVERBIKES AND DRUGS IN EYES, and that kid? I was saying shoot the kid from the first scene he was in.

come back here in 2040 and tell me if the future turned out any different from the movie.

I lived in the past being old as fuck as I am and the future will be pretty much the same tomorrow as today. Believe me.
#26 Edited by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

@TheHT said:

@FlarePhoenix said:

@TheHT said:

@FlarePhoenix:

"Of course, the movie never really takes the time to explain how the time-travel works, or the rules they are working from."

"Of course that creates the biggest problem of the movie. If Joe only got sent back in time because of the Rain Maker, but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time, how does that work? Both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other."

Those are the things you said that I was responding to. Notice I didn't comment on your narration beef because, well, frankly I don't care if you don't like the narration. I'm not gonna try and convince you that the narration is fine if it's something you just don't like it for whatever reason.

My response explained the way time travel seems to work in Looper, addressing the first quote. And you're right, my lackluster phrasing creates a contradiction. I'll clarify by saying that it's definitely one timeline, but nothing is destined to happen in that timeline. So Old Joe can, at the particular point in the timeline, fail to overpower his kidnappers and be sent back and killed. The result is that Young Joe 'closes his loop' and lives his life to that particular point in the timeline where he fights his kidnappers, but at that point may overpower them and go back and not get killed (and so the movie goes). One timeline, but one where actions are not set in stone.

That was to illustrate how Old Joe's actions creating the Rainmaker isn't necessarily the only way Cyd ends up becoming the Rainmaker. In Old Joe's history, he never encountered Sara and Cyd, yet the Rainmaker still came to power in Old Joe's history. In Old Joe's efforts to stop Cyd from the Rainmaker, were Young Joe not to stop him, he would have ended up creating the Rainmaker, yes, but to imply that that particular causal chain is the sole explanation for the creation of the Rainmaker is to pressupose a fatalistic nature to the universe (the universe according to Looper, at least).

Of the second quote the "but the Rain Maker only got created because Joe was sent back in time" part is where I interpreted the destiny bit from. Also "both occurrences are completely dependent on the other; one cannot happen without the other" which solidifies the connection between the events as if it were set in stone. But in order to explain away destiny I had to explain how things can change (Old Joe's history, the entirety of the movie) which was fine because I had to in order to address your first quote.

So my post:

  1. sought to explain the 'rules' of time travel in Looper
  2. showed why the Old Joe/Rainmaker connection isn't actually a problem

I hope this post made more clear the relevance of my previous one, and also helped clarify my prior explanations.

From what I remember, the only thing the movie really explains about the time travel is, changes in the past have an immediate and linear effect on the future (like when that one future guy was losing limbs as his younger self was getting them cut off (of course, I would argue that as soon as he lost one limb he should have disappeared altogether, but that's an entirely different debate).

I just looked over my original post again, and I never really expressed a problem with the future having different possible outcomes, did I? My problem, in relation to Old Joe overpowering his captors but getting sent back anyway, was the fact him doing so caused him to appear in the past later than Young Joe expected. I mean it's possible time travel works by sending them back a specific length of time (rather than sending them back to a set time), but I feel that's something the movie should explain. The movie expects us to just accept a large portion of it without offering any explanation behind it.

The only thing the movie explains is that Old Joes history once he comes back becomes "fuzzy" and only a possibility, that he can remember things that Young Joe does after he does them, and then the obvious physical changes of the Young affecting the Old. Everything else is implied, but it's enough to form a pretty good idea of time travel in that universe.

My explaining the different outcomes was a part of me explaining the rules of time travel in the Looper universe. I looked at that scene again, and the time is the exact same both when Old Joe goes back and survivies and when Old Joe (or Old Old Joe if you'd like) goes back and dies. Just over 4:30PM.

Well that's more to do with the fact Old Joe's memories are constantly changing as his presence in the past causes his history to be changed. He still remembers everything, but his memory is constantly changing.

You keep saying you have a pretty good idea of how the time travel works, but you haven't really tried to explain it. Besides, as you said, everything you know is based on assumptions and guesswork.

Doesn't Young Joe look at his watch, put it away and point his gun where his target is supposed to appear, but look confused when nothing appears and check his watch again? It's been a while since I've seen the movie, but didn't that mean Old Joe appeared later than Young Joe was expecting?

#27 Posted by TheHT (11686 posts) -

@FlarePhoenix said:

@TheHT said:

The only thing the movie explains is that Old Joes history once he comes back becomes "fuzzy" and only a possibility, that he can remember things that Young Joe does after he does them, and then the obvious physical changes of the Young affecting the Old. Everything else is implied, but it's enough to form a pretty good idea of time travel in that universe.

My explaining the different outcomes was a part of me explaining the rules of time travel in the Looper universe. I looked at that scene again, and the time is the exact same both when Old Joe goes back and survivies and when Old Joe (or Old Old Joe if you'd like) goes back and dies. Just over 4:30PM.

Doesn't Young Joe look at his watch, put it away and point his gun where his target is supposed to appear, but look confused when nothing appears and check his watch again? It's been a while since I've seen the movie, but didn't that mean Old Joe appeared later than Young Joe was expecting?

Both times that happens, and the times on the watch before Old Joe appears are the same. It wouldn't really matter either way though, since whether the time machine sends things back in a particular chunk of time or not or whether someone set the time a little differently or not, it's not a significant point for understanding the nature of time travel in that universe.

@FlarePhoenix said:

@project343 said:

They never explicitly say how the Rainmaker becomes the Rainmaker under the base timeline, correct? For all we know, she could have died some other way. What Young Joe reasoned was one potential source of this negative origin. Time travel is always a plothole disaster, but you are making assumptions in murky, undefined time-bending territory. But I'm sure you'll fault the film for that.

Yes, it is entirely possible Cyd could have become the Rainmaker through some other series of events. However, wasn't the big twist of the movie Old Joe's actions directly causing the creation of the Rainmaker? It kind of diminishes the reveal if you take it as "well this is one way it could happen", doesn't it? Besides, didn't Cyd start closing loops because he was angry that Old Joe, a looper, killed his mother? Why would he be closing the loops if his mother wasn't killed by a Looper? If Cyd could become the Rainmaker by some event not involving Old Joe, wouldn't Young Joe shooting himself be entirely pointless? Not to mention, the one thing we know about the Rainmaker's appearance before we find out who he is, is the fact he has an artificial jaw (which we learn was also from Joe when he tried to shoot him but only hit his mouth). So if we go on the basis that an entirely different set of events took place, but caused the same thing to happen, that's getting a bit too coincidental for my liking.

It doesn't diminish the ending since it's because of Young Joe's interactions with Sara and Cyd that Cyd will likely not become the Rainmaker. Old Joe's efforts to change the future was just going to lead things towards the same end, just a different spark is all.

We don't know why the Rainmaker started closing loops. Maybe he was just tying up loose ends, or trying to get rid of the use of time travel. The biggest threat to his power would probably be exactly what Old Joe wanted to do: someone going back and killing him when he's vulnerable. There's no satisfactory answer here since all we know of the Rainmaker is he's powerful, controls the five syndicates, and then a slew of rumours about his mothers death, his missing jaw, etc.

I don't see a scar on his cheek and an allegedly artificial jaw as too close for comfort though. A scrape and a lack of 1/3rd of his face are significantly different.

@FlarePhoenix said:

Oh, believe me, I could go a lot further on how the time travel just doesn't work. For example, Young Joe killing himself really accomplishes nothing since the future will now be Cid not becoming the Rainmaker and therefore not closing loops. Which would mean Joe would never get sent back in time, which would mean the events of the movie never happened and Young Joe had no reason to kill himself, which would mean Cid would become the Rainmaker and send Joe back in time causing the events to happen again.

That doesn't make any sense in the context of the movie universe.

Joe's dead. Young Joe, Old Joe, at the end of the movie it doesn't matter, because both are gone. Cyd grows up and doesn't become the Rainmaker, and Joe remains dead.

It may help to imagine a timeline as just a straight line. Young Joe closing his loop is one point. Further down is a point where that same Joe, now Old Joe, getting kidnapped and going back to the point where Young Joe kills him.

In the events of the movie, Old Joe survives after going back to that first point, and they both (Old Joe and Young Joe) continue along that line until the end of the movie where Young Joe kills himself (consequently removing Old Joe from existence). The line still continues though, as their demise hasn't obliterated the universe, and Cyd and Sara still exist on that timeline. So that Cyd doesn't become the Rainmaker and doesn't start closing all the loops doesn't matter.

#28 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4868 posts) -

I thought it was one of the best science fiction movies I've seen in years. Really dug it.

#29 Posted by TheHT (11686 posts) -

@FlarePhoenix said:


You keep saying you have a pretty good idea of how the time travel works, but you haven't really tried to explain it. Besides, as you said, everything you know is based on assumptions and guesswork.

I explained it in my first post directed at you, and with evidence. I suppose that would make it inferential rather than just assumptions and guesses. For your convenience:

@TheHT said:

You're operating under the assumption that things are destined to happen in this world. Old Joe says himself that what happened in his lifetime, upon travelling back, are just one possible eventuality. When things happen that cause his memories of his wife to fade, he's still able to hold onto his personal memory from his own history, yet things in Young Joe's life are very clearly not following the same path (which is of course what's causing the changes).

So things never have to follow along any particular path. Just so, Old Joe in one timeline is able to overpower his capturers but in another is subdued (i.e., Old Joe's actual past where he "closed his loop" and grew old).

That physical changes to Young Joe are able to affect Old Joe (in addition to the changes in memory), means we can't be dealing with a parallel dimensions situation where Old Joe would be a foreign entity wholly unaffected by the events of his destination dimension.

So in this world, a) not all things are fated to happen and b) it's a single timeline.

That said, the most glaring problem with the movie would be Cyd becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe, yet still existing in Old Joe's history. The most important thing to keep in mind there is that it's because of the actions of Young Joe that Cyd was led to the situation where he accepted Sarah as his mom. Otherwise he would likely still have been that angry kid who killed his aunt (and believed her to be his mom) and grows up into the Rainmaker.

QED, Old Joe's efforts to stop Cyd would have had the same end result (the Holy Reign of Terror). But Young Joe, being in the position this whole mess put him in, was given an opportunity to potentially stop Cyd, and took it.

Bittersweet ending, roll credits.

If there's too much plot in there for you and not enough plain explaining, I'll try and be more concise here:

  • There is one timeline; no alternate dimensions.
  • Nothing is fated to happen.
  • Changes to a 'young' object directly affect the corresponding 'old' object.
#30 Posted by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

@TheHT said:

Both times that happens, and the times on the watch before Old Joe appears are the same. It wouldn't really matter either way though, since whether the time machine sends things back in a particular chunk of time or not or whether someone set the time a little differently or not, it's not a significant point for understanding the nature of time travel in that universe.

It doesn't diminish the ending since it's because of Young Joe's interactions with Sara and Cyd that Cyd will likely not become the Rainmaker. Old Joe's efforts to change the future was just going to lead things towards the same end, just a different spark is all.

We don't know why the Rainmaker started closing loops. Maybe he was just tying up loose ends, or trying to get rid of the use of time travel. The biggest threat to his power would probably be exactly what Old Joe wanted to do: someone going back and killing him when he's vulnerable. There's no satisfactory answer here since all we know of the Rainmaker is he's powerful, controls the five syndicates, and then a slew of rumours about his mothers death, his missing jaw, etc.

I don't see a scar on his cheek and an allegedly artificial jaw as too close for comfort though. A scrape and a lack of 1/3rd of his face are significantly different.

That doesn't make any sense in the context of the movie universe.

Joe's dead. Young Joe, Old Joe, at the end of the movie it doesn't matter, because both are gone. Cyd grows up and doesn't become the Rainmaker, and Joe remains dead.

It may help to imagine a timeline as just a straight line. Young Joe closing his loop is one point. Further down is a point where that same Joe, now Old Joe, getting kidnapped and going back to the point where Young Joe kills him.

In the events of the movie, Old Joe survives after going back to that first point, and they both (Old Joe and Young Joe) continue along that line until the end of the movie where Young Joe kills himself (consequently removing Old Joe from existence). The line still continues though, as their demise hasn't obliterated the universe, and Cyd and Sara still exist on that timeline. So that Cyd doesn't become the Rainmaker and doesn't start closing all the loops doesn't matter.

Well if the time is exactly the same both times, I must have misinterpreted that scene. I just remember him looking confused when his target does not appear straight away, which to me said Old Joe appeared later than Young Joe expected. However, I would have to watch the movie again to know for sure.

Your entire argument about Cid becoming the Rainmaker is based on the belief it is entirely possible for it to happen without Old Joe's interference, but now you're telling me since Old Joe was stopped Cid will likely not become the Rainmaker. Besides, what I said was Cid becoming the Rainmaker through some other method diminishes the big reveal at the ending. Cid becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe's actions is a pretty big moment, but it's heavily diminished if the big reveal is "well this is one way it might have happened, but it could easily happen another way".

If he was trying to get rid of time travel, closing loops would do nothing to accomplish that since more Loopers would just keep getting created in the past. Cid gets shot, and we see his mouth bleeding: that's a lot more than a scar or a scrape. Granted we don't see the extent of the damage, but it's likely that wound is what caused him to need an artificial jaw. If that's not what caused it, why would it be mentioned in the movie? They mention it near the start of the movie, so when he gets shot in the end you go "so that's how it happened". Otherwise, they dropped that information for no reason.

We know, for a fact, that the events of the world are constantly repeating themselves. It's the entire premise of the movie: Old Joe gets sent back in time, and interacts with his younger self. The timeline is not a straight line, but rather a circle (the movie even says so itself at the end): everything repeats itself, but certain events can cause things to change (like Old Joe roaming around in the past).

Alright, in the first iteration, Old Joe gets sent back in time and is killed by his younger self with no problems. Joe lives out the rest of his life and becomes his older self we see in the movie. This Joe is sent back in time to his second iteration (the young Joe we see in the movie) but manages to change the events by getting sent back in time not tied up. The movie happens, and Joe kills himself.

However, this means that in the second iteration Cid doesn't grow up to be the Rainmaker, meaning he never sends Old Joe back in time to be killed. This means the events of the movie never happened in the third iteration. In the third iteration, Old Joe is not sent back in time, he doesn't escape, and Young Joe doesn't have to chase him leading to him meeting Sarah and Cid on the farm. So Cid grows up to be the Rainmaker (somehow) and we're right back to the first iteration (or possibly a different iteration altogether, if some other event occurs to change things in a different way).

So unless we accept the fact Cid became the Rainmaker ONLY through Old Joe's actions, Young Joe shooting himself accomplishes nothing, However, if we accept that, it means we're back to the fact Cid becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe's actions, but Old Joe's actions being a result of Cid becoming the Rainmaker makes no sense.

#31 Posted by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

@TheHT said:

@FlarePhoenix said:


You keep saying you have a pretty good idea of how the time travel works, but you haven't really tried to explain it. Besides, as you said, everything you know is based on assumptions and guesswork.

I explained it in my first post directed at you, and with evidence. I suppose that would make it inferential rather than just assumptions and guesses. For your convenience:

@TheHT said:

You're operating under the assumption that things are destined to happen in this world. Old Joe says himself that what happened in his lifetime, upon travelling back, are just one possible eventuality. When things happen that cause his memories of his wife to fade, he's still able to hold onto his personal memory from his own history, yet things in Young Joe's life are very clearly not following the same path (which is of course what's causing the changes).

So things never have to follow along any particular path. Just so, Old Joe in one timeline is able to overpower his capturers but in another is subdued (i.e., Old Joe's actual past where he "closed his loop" and grew old).

That physical changes to Young Joe are able to affect Old Joe (in addition to the changes in memory), means we can't be dealing with a parallel dimensions situation where Old Joe would be a foreign entity wholly unaffected by the events of his destination dimension.

So in this world, a) not all things are fated to happen and b) it's a single timeline.

That said, the most glaring problem with the movie would be Cyd becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe, yet still existing in Old Joe's history. The most important thing to keep in mind there is that it's because of the actions of Young Joe that Cyd was led to the situation where he accepted Sarah as his mom. Otherwise he would likely still have been that angry kid who killed his aunt (and believed her to be his mom) and grows up into the Rainmaker.

QED, Old Joe's efforts to stop Cyd would have had the same end result (the Holy Reign of Terror). But Young Joe, being in the position this whole mess put him in, was given an opportunity to potentially stop Cyd, and took it.

Bittersweet ending, roll credits.

If there's too much plot in there for you and not enough plain explaining, I'll try and be more concise here:

  • There is one timeline; no alternate dimensions.
  • Nothing is fated to happen.
  • Changes to a 'young' object directly affect the corresponding 'old' object.

Well my problem with how the time travel works was based mostly around the whole "Joe getting sent back later than he should have" moment, but it seems I was wrong about that. So I don't really have a problem with the rules of time travel anymore, but it still does nothing to explain the glaring plot hole in the movie (Cid only becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe etc... etc...)

#32 Posted by Stimpack (911 posts) -

Oh, man, this movie was pretty great!! I understand plot holes getting in the way of enjoyment, but when it comes to sci-fi *especially when involving time-travel* you kind of just have to go with the flow. Also my mind can't quite handle the walls of text here at 1 am, so I'll just respond to the OP.

I don't feel that Bruce Willis really stole the show. Joseph Gordon Levitt did a pretty great job. Honestly, though, it might just be the fact that I've seen Willis in so many sub-par movies by now that it's diminishing his acting potential in my head. That damn toupee sure as hell didn't do him any favors, though!

#33 Posted by TheHT (11686 posts) -

@FlarePhoenix said:


Well if the time is exactly the same both times, I must have misinterpreted that scene. I just remember him looking confused when his target does not appear straight away, which to me said Old Joe appeared later than Young Joe expected. However, I would have to watch the movie again to know for sure.

Your entire argument about Cid becoming the Rainmaker is based on the belief it is entirely possible for it to happen without Old Joe's interference, but now you're telling me since Old Joe was stopped Cid will likely not become the Rainmaker. Besides, what I said was Cid becoming the Rainmaker through some other method diminishes the big reveal at the ending. Cid becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe's actions is a pretty big moment, but it's heavily diminished if the big reveal is "well this is one way it might have happened, but it could easily happen another way".

If he was trying to get rid of time travel, closing loops would do nothing to accomplish that since more Loopers would just keep getting created in the past. Cid gets shot, and we see his mouth bleeding: that's a lot more than a scar or a scrape. Granted we don't see the extent of the damage, but it's likely that wound is what caused him to need an artificial jaw. If that's not what caused it, why would it be mentioned in the movie? They mention it near the start of the movie, so when he gets shot in the end you go "so that's how it happened". Otherwise, they dropped that information for no reason.

We know, for a fact, that the events of the world are constantly repeating themselves. It's the entire premise of the movie: Old Joe gets sent back in time, and interacts with his younger self. The timeline is not a straight line, but rather a circle (the movie even says so itself at the end): everything repeats itself, but certain events can cause things to change (like Old Joe roaming around in the past).

For what it's worth, I totally thought the times were different too. I had to look again to check when you brought it up.

Yes, because Old Joe's actions while not the only way for Cid to become the Rainmaker, ultimately would have been one way. That's not contradictory to anything I've said.

I don't see how it's diminished, since it's greatly overshadowed by the bigger moment afterward when Young Joe decides to kill himself, but that's largely subjective anways.

Were the Rainmaker trying to stop time travel, closing all loops would be a part of that. Obviously it wouldn't be the same as destroying a machine, but it's a part of removing any remnants of its use. Tying up loose ends, as it were. Also, loopers wouldn't get created in the past, since the whole point of their job is killing people from the future. Not victims from the future, no loopers. But this is all meaningless to our discussion. As I said, there's no satisfactory answer as to why the Rainmaker wants to close all the loops.

We see Cid at the end with his cheek bandaged up. I'm no doctor, but I think he'll be able to keep his jaw just fine. At most he looked like he could've needed some stiches. That piece of information (the artificial jaw) is given in the context of being a rumour about a enigmatic and powerful figure from the future. It works towards building up that mystique. It could be a red herring, or merely a call-back to that rumour, but I've yet to be convinced that there's anything more to it.

What do you mean constantly repeating themselves? If you're implying that the Old Joe is constantly coming back and shooting Sara thus creating the Rainmaker over and over, then you're wrong because that doesn't happen to the Old Joe that gets killed by Young Joe.

Now what I'm about to tell you make not jive well with your "he said circle so time itself is circular" attitude, but hear me out.

When Young Joe talks at the end of a circle going round and round, it doesn't strike me as him giving us insight into the nature of time in the universe. He was more likely talking about the young men in his time, with their fucked up childhoods sending them down a dark road. The support for this is Young Joe imagining Cid riding a train into the city, just as he did as a young boy. After Joe was on that train, imagining himself violently killing those he was sold to as a child along with his mom, he encountered Abe and became one of his goons.

However, Young Joe believed that with Sara, Cid could grow up and be a good person. To do that he had to stop Old Joe though, and the only way he could was to kill himself, ending the circle of selfishness and death that permeates his society. Also supporting this is the other things he says. What he says is circular is the path that Cid would have walked after Old Joe kills his mother, specifically calling it "the bad path". It stands to reason that this bad path is analogous to his own aforementioned childhood. When he says he's changing it, he changes the path Cid would go down. It's a nice play on words, but obviously runs the risk of confusing things.

@FlarePhoenix said:


Alright, in the first iteration, Old Joe gets sent back in time and is killed by his younger self with no problems. Joe lives out the rest of his life and becomes his older self we see in the movie. This Joe is sent back in time to his second iteration (the young Joe we see in the movie) but manages to change the events by getting sent back in time not tied up. The movie happens, and Joe kills himself.

However, this means that in the second iteration Cid doesn't grow up to be the Rainmaker, meaning he never sends Old Joe back in time to be killed. This means the events of the movie never happened in the third iteration. In the third iteration, Old Joe is not sent back in time, he doesn't escape, and Young Joe doesn't have to chase him leading to him meeting Sarah and Cid on the farm. So Cid grows up to be the Rainmaker (somehow) and we're right back to the first iteration (or possibly a different iteration altogether, if some other event occurs to change things in a different way).

So unless we accept the fact Cid became the Rainmaker ONLY through Old Joe's actions, Young Joe shooting himself accomplishes nothing, However, if we accept that, it means we're back to the fact Cid becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe's actions, but Old Joe's actions being a result of Cid becoming the Rainmaker makes no sense.

There is no third iteration. There are no interations at all, or 'alternate worlds' or 'alternative dimensions' or 'alternative timelines' since that's essentially what you're saying.

There's a single timeline, and only through time travel along that timeline does Old Joe loop back around to thirty years prior. The timeline as a whole remains singular and straight throughout. I really don't want to have to start drawing diagrams, but if it'll help I can whip something up quick later. A bit ironic after Old Joe said that once they start talking about time travel they'd start drawing diagrams on napkins.

In any case, your unfounded assumptions are creating conflicts with the logic of the movie. There's nothing to support the notion that the events of the movie are repeated indefinitely. Just the opposite in fact.

@FlarePhoenix said:

@TheHT said:


  • There is one timeline; no alternate dimensions.
  • Nothing is fated to happen.
  • Changes to a 'young' object directly affect the corresponding 'old' object.

Well my problem with how the time travel works was based mostly around the whole "Joe getting sent back later than he should have" moment, but it seems I was wrong about that. So I don't really have a problem with the rules of time travel anymore, but it still does nothing to explain the glaring plot hole in the movie (Cid only becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe etc... etc...)

That plot hole upon reflection is nonexistent. Cid doesn't only become the Rainmaker because of Old Joe. It didn't happen in Old Joes history, thus it is not a requirement for Cid becoming the Rainmaker.

#34 Edited by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

@TheHT said:

@FlarePhoenix said:


Well if the time is exactly the same both times, I must have misinterpreted that scene. I just remember him looking confused when his target does not appear straight away, which to me said Old Joe appeared later than Young Joe expected. However, I would have to watch the movie again to know for sure.

Your entire argument about Cid becoming the Rainmaker is based on the belief it is entirely possible for it to happen without Old Joe's interference, but now you're telling me since Old Joe was stopped Cid will likely not become the Rainmaker. Besides, what I said was Cid becoming the Rainmaker through some other method diminishes the big reveal at the ending. Cid becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe's actions is a pretty big moment, but it's heavily diminished if the big reveal is "well this is one way it might have happened, but it could easily happen another way".

If he was trying to get rid of time travel, closing loops would do nothing to accomplish that since more Loopers would just keep getting created in the past. Cid gets shot, and we see his mouth bleeding: that's a lot more than a scar or a scrape. Granted we don't see the extent of the damage, but it's likely that wound is what caused him to need an artificial jaw. If that's not what caused it, why would it be mentioned in the movie? They mention it near the start of the movie, so when he gets shot in the end you go "so that's how it happened". Otherwise, they dropped that information for no reason.

We know, for a fact, that the events of the world are constantly repeating themselves. It's the entire premise of the movie: Old Joe gets sent back in time, and interacts with his younger self. The timeline is not a straight line, but rather a circle (the movie even says so itself at the end): everything repeats itself, but certain events can cause things to change (like Old Joe roaming around in the past).

For what it's worth, I totally thought the times were different too. I had to look again to check when you brought it up.

Yes, because Old Joe's actions while not the only way for Cid to become the Rainmaker, ultimately would have been one way. That's not contradictory to anything I've said.

I don't see how it's diminished, since it's greatly overshadowed by the bigger moment afterward when Young Joe decides to kill himself, but that's largely subjective anways.

Were the Rainmaker trying to stop time travel, closing all loops would be a part of that. Obviously it wouldn't be the same as destroying a machine, but it's a part of removing any remnants of its use. Tying up loose ends, as it were. Also, loopers wouldn't get created in the past, since the whole point of their job is killing people from the future. Not victims from the future, no loopers. But this is all meaningless to our discussion. As I said, there's no satisfactory answer as to why the Rainmaker wants to close all the loops.

We see Cid at the end with his cheek bandaged up. I'm no doctor, but I think he'll be able to keep his jaw just fine. At most he looked like he could've needed some stiches. That piece of information (the artificial jaw) is given in the context of being a rumour about a enigmatic and powerful figure from the future. It works towards building up that mystique. It could be a red herring, or merely a call-back to that rumour, but I've yet to be convinced that there's anything more to it.

What do you mean constantly repeating themselves? If you're implying that the Old Joe is constantly coming back and shooting Sara thus creating the Rainmaker over and over, then you're wrong because that doesn't happen to the Old Joe that gets killed by Young Joe.

Now what I'm about to tell you make not jive well with your "he said circle so time itself is circular" attitude, but hear me out.

When Young Joe talks at the end of a circle going round and round, it doesn't strike me as him giving us insight into the nature of time in the universe. He was more likely talking about the young men in his time, with their fucked up childhoods sending them down a dark road. The support for this is Young Joe imagining Cid riding a train into the city, just as he did as a young boy. After Joe was on that train, imagining himself violently killing those he was sold to as a child along with his mom, he encountered Abe and became one of his goons.

However, Young Joe believed that with Sara, Cid could grow up and be a good person. To do that he had to stop Old Joe though, and the only way he could was to kill himself, ending the circle of selfishness and death that permeates his society. Also supporting this is the other things he says. What he says is circular is the path that Cid would have walked after Old Joe kills his mother, specifically calling it "the bad path". It stands to reason that this bad path is analogous to his own aforementioned childhood. When he says he's changing it, he changes the path Cid would go down. It's a nice play on words, but obviously runs the risk of confusing things.

@FlarePhoenix said:


Alright, in the first iteration, Old Joe gets sent back in time and is killed by his younger self with no problems. Joe lives out the rest of his life and becomes his older self we see in the movie. This Joe is sent back in time to his second iteration (the young Joe we see in the movie) but manages to change the events by getting sent back in time not tied up. The movie happens, and Joe kills himself.

However, this means that in the second iteration Cid doesn't grow up to be the Rainmaker, meaning he never sends Old Joe back in time to be killed. This means the events of the movie never happened in the third iteration. In the third iteration, Old Joe is not sent back in time, he doesn't escape, and Young Joe doesn't have to chase him leading to him meeting Sarah and Cid on the farm. So Cid grows up to be the Rainmaker (somehow) and we're right back to the first iteration (or possibly a different iteration altogether, if some other event occurs to change things in a different way).

So unless we accept the fact Cid became the Rainmaker ONLY through Old Joe's actions, Young Joe shooting himself accomplishes nothing, However, if we accept that, it means we're back to the fact Cid becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe's actions, but Old Joe's actions being a result of Cid becoming the Rainmaker makes no sense.

There is no third iteration. There are no interations at all, or 'alternate worlds' or 'alternative dimensions' or 'alternative timelines' since that's essentially what you're saying.

There's a single timeline, and only through time travel along that timeline does Old Joe loop back around to thirty years prior. The timeline as a whole remains singular and straight throughout. I really don't want to have to start drawing diagrams, but if it'll help I can whip something up quick later. A bit ironic after Old Joe said that once they start talking about time travel they'd start drawing diagrams on napkins.

In any case, your unfounded assumptions are creating conflicts with the logic of the movie. There's nothing to support the notion that the events of the movie are repeated indefinitely. Just the opposite in fact.

@FlarePhoenix said:

@TheHT said:


  • There is one timeline; no alternate dimensions.
  • Nothing is fated to happen.
  • Changes to a 'young' object directly affect the corresponding 'old' object.

Well my problem with how the time travel works was based mostly around the whole "Joe getting sent back later than he should have" moment, but it seems I was wrong about that. So I don't really have a problem with the rules of time travel anymore, but it still does nothing to explain the glaring plot hole in the movie (Cid only becoming the Rainmaker because of Old Joe etc... etc...)

That plot hole upon reflection is nonexistent. Cid doesn't only become the Rainmaker because of Old Joe. It didn't happen in Old Joes history, thus it is not a requirement for Cid becoming the Rainmaker.

I'm not a doctor either, but even if the wound wasn't serious enough to require the jaw getting removed, it is still possible for that to be why it occurs. Given that he is on the run, hiding in a train, it's likely he isn't heading straight for a hospital (either because he doesn't want to be found, or he doesn't know where to find one) so the jaw could become infected and need to be removed. I can't say for sure, but I don't think you can say "well it didn't look too bad in that one brief scene, so that isn't what caused it". They talk about the Rainmaker having an artificial jaw, and we see Cid get his jaw injured. Both events are completely pointless if they're not connected.

If Sid is really the boss of everything in the future, wouldn't he just kill the Loopers himself? If no one can touch him, why would he need to hide the fact he was killing them? In fact, it makes little sense to send them back in time because they could potentially escape and try to kill him when he is just a little kid (you know, the plot of the movie).

I've said nothing about alternate timelines, worlds or dimensions: you're the one who keeps bringing that into the discussion for some reason. As I have been trying to explain, and the movie does back me up on this, is that the timeline is constantly repeating itself. If it weren't, the entire movie would be Joe grows old, gets sent back in time, and gets killed by his younger self. However, since the future can be altered, it means the timeline can be altered at any time. The timeline might be a straight line, but you can jump to any point in it. If you change something, it changes everything in the line from that point onwards (as we see, when the other future guy who escapes loses limbs as his younger self gets them cut off).

Okay, so we have one single timeline that can be changed and can be visited at any point. The events in the past determine the future, but because of time travel the future can also impact the events of the past (Joe going back in time and not getting killed heavily changed the events of the past. He never would have met Sara or Cid if he hadn't). Since Joe killed himself, he was never sent back in time, and the events of the movie didn't happen since Joe never met Sara and Cid, and killed himself to protect them. It means, if someone were to jump into a time machine and go back to the past, Joe would still be alive, and Cid would be on his way to becoming the Rainmaker. So he hasn't really changed anything by killing himself.

If Sid can become the Rainmaker through multiple events, that's just too much of a coincidence for my liking. Besides, if it was some other event that originally did it, Young Joe killing himself becomes even more pointless as the other event would still happen. Saying "the end result will be the same, but it can be caused in a number of different fashions" is just lazy writing.

#35 Posted by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

@Stimpack said:

Oh, man, this movie was pretty great!! I understand plot holes getting in the way of enjoyment, but when it comes to sci-fi *especially when involving time-travel* you kind of just have to go with the flow. Also my mind can't quite handle the walls of text here at 1 am, so I'll just respond to the OP.

I don't feel that Bruce Willis really stole the show. Joseph Gordon Levitt did a pretty great job. Honestly, though, it might just be the fact that I've seen Willis in so many sub-par movies by now that it's diminishing his acting potential in my head. That damn toupee sure as hell didn't do him any favors, though!

I don't immediately hate something just because of plot holes (in fact, I've probably liked some things others could find tons of plot holes in), but when said plot holes are making me question how the whole movie works I start to have a problem.

On the other hand though, I completely agree: I thought Joseph Gordon Levitt was really good in it. I've always been a fan of his, so I like the fact he is starting to come back into the public eye with some big movies. I hope to see more of him in the future.

#36 Posted by HistoryInRust (6380 posts) -

I figured it would just be Twelve Monkeys at some point. And it totally was. So. Eh.

Well made. Good performances. Gordon-Levitt's makeup was one-hundred percent unnecessary and a complete and total distraction. Literally had no interest in the Emily Blunt subplot and that's precisely where the movie lost me.

#37 Posted by Freshbandito (689 posts) -

Between the arguing parties in this thread the rules and laws of an impossibly difficult to understand concept will be revealed! We're about to do it people! the laws of time travel are being written in this thread and it's all thanks to people disagreeing about a Bruce Willis movie. I'm scared, hold me...

#38 Posted by TheHT (11686 posts) -

@FlarePhoenix said:


I'm not a doctor either, but even if the wound wasn't serious enough to require the jaw getting removed, it is still possible for that to be why it occurs. Given that he is on the run, hiding in a train, it's likely he isn't heading straight for a hospital (either because he doesn't want to be found, or he doesn't know where to find one) so the jaw could become infected and need to be removed. I can't say for sure, but I don't think you can say "well it didn't look too bad in that one brief scene, so that isn't what caused it". They talk about the Rainmaker having an artificial jaw, and we see Cid get his jaw injured. Both events are completely pointless if they're not connected.

If Sid is really the boss of everything in the future, wouldn't he just kill the Loopers himself? If no one can touch him, why would he need to hide the fact he was killing them? In fact, it makes little sense to send them back in time because they could potentially escape and try to kill him when he is just a little kid (you know, the plot of the movie).

I've said nothing about alternate timelines, worlds or dimensions: you're the one who keeps bringing that into the discussion for some reason. As I have been trying to explain, and the movie does back me up on this, is that the timeline is constantly repeating itself. If it weren't, the entire movie would be Joe grows old, gets sent back in time, and gets killed by his younger self. However, since the future can be altered, it means the timeline can be altered at any time. The timeline might be a straight line, but you can jump to any point in it. If you change something, it changes everything in the line from that point onwards (as we see, when the other future guy who escapes loses limbs as his younger self gets them cut off).

I know we agreed to disagree, but I was unaware of this posts existence, and since it makes significant progress in our discussion, I'd like to at least respond to some important points you've made.

The entire movie does have Joe getting old and getting sent back in time and killed by himself. And then that Joe grows old and is sent back but not killed. And then the events of the movie unfold and both Joes die, and no Old Joe is sent back (since the Young Joe that would've become Old Joe is dead), and then the world goes on.

@FlarePhoenix said:


Okay, so we have one single timeline that can be changed and can be visited at any point. The events in the past determine the future, but because of time travel the future can also impact the events of the past (Joe going back in time and not getting killed heavily changed the events of the past. He never would have met Sara or Cid if he hadn't). Since Joe killed himself, he was never sent back in time, and the events of the movie didn't happen since Joe never met Sara and Cid, and killed himself to protect them. It means, if someone were to jump into a time machine and go back to the past, Joe would still be alive, and Cid would be on his way to becoming the Rainmaker. So he hasn't really changed anything by killing himself.

If Sid can become the Rainmaker through multiple events, that's just too much of a coincidence for my liking. Besides, if it was some other event that originally did it, Young Joe killing himself becomes even more pointless as the other event would still happen. Saying "the end result will be the same, but it can be caused in a number of different fashions" is just lazy writing.

OK, you're headed in the right direction. Now, since Young Joe killed himself it means Old Joe would not have come back in time, because he would be long dead thirty years from then. However, the acts that he did after coming back thirty years but prior to Young Joe killing himself will still have happened. He stops existing, but the effects of his coming do not vanish as well. Suppose you cut an elastic band, and pull on one end while the other is firmly in place. The more you pull, you find that things on your way are moved as well. Now when you let go, the elastic band doesn't shoot back retracting all of that ground, moving everything back as it was. Instead, when you let go the elastic band simply disappears. That is what happened when Old Joe disappeared, after Young Joe killed himself. The problem then that you've been talking about, which I now understand, whereby Young Joe's death would mean that he would not grow old and come back in time and cause Young Joe to meet Sara and Cid, is no longer a problem.

Old Joe when he comes back, is a body that technically doesn't exist. There are no records of him, his history is a delicate memory, and his yesterday hasn't happened yet. But he obviously does physically exist. His actions still have consequences, and those consequences stick even if he stops existing thereafter. So if someone else were to jump back to the middle of the movie, Old Joe would still be there, pulled out of a history that technically never existed.

The reason that another event most likely will not result in the creation of the Rainmaker is because of Young Joe's interaction with Sara and Cid. It was only at that last moment that Cid truly accepted Sara as his mom, and the prior animosity he fostered for her dissipated. Since Young Joe stopped Old Joe from killing Sara, she will continue to raise Cid lovingly. And with his newfound acceptance of Sara, Cid would not be resistant and spiteful towards her.

One obvious contestation to this is saying "well since they're still in the farm, something could still happen to Sara what with all the vagrants that find their way there" but the movie strongly suggests that the two will be more well off. Quite literally, given that Sara finds the knocked over truck Young Joe was driving that's overflowing with gold bars.

Of course, at that point someone could dig in their heels and say something bad could still happen, but the movie gives you enough to work with that believing enough good has and will have happened to save Cid from becoming the Rainmaker is not so untenable a conclusion.

And with that, I believe I've said my piece.

#39 Posted by Hunter5024 (5909 posts) -

@FlarePhoenix: Remember that part in the diner where Joseph Gordon Levitt was trying to figure out how everything worked and Bruce Willis slammed his fist down on the table and said "IT DOESNT MATTER!" That was for us dude. Time travel is inherently confusing, there will always be plot holes involved, and the only way to stop them would be to add way more exposition.

#40 Posted by TheHT (11686 posts) -

@Freshbandito said:

Between the arguing parties in this thread the rules and laws of an impossibly difficult to understand concept will be revealed! We're about to do it people! the laws of time travel are being written in this thread and it's all thanks to people disagreeing about a Bruce Willis movie. I'm scared, hold me...

We were actually debating the rules of time travel in accordance with the movie in particular. So our aspirations are only slightly lower.

Exceedingly witty post though. Really, well done.

#41 Edited by Freshbandito (689 posts) -

@TheHT: Damn! we should put together a team to broaden our research.

Time travel is just always such a per rendition contrivance and for a movie to explain it's brand of time travel down to the intricacies required by some people would take so absurdly long that it'd be to the detriment of the film. Whenever it's in a film you have to allow for a certain amount of give in what happens, a sort of "that crazy time travel!" state of mind. Until we discover time travel and it's rules are set in stone and when that happens we can go back in time and retroactively change all films involving time travel. Or can we???

Ninja edit: I'm not ridiculing the back and fore of the actually quite interesting debate you're having about the way time travel works in this movie. It's just kind of weird how movies often inspire thoughts far beyond the purview of the writer/director.

#42 Edited by TheHT (11686 posts) -

@Freshbandito said:

@TheHT: Damn! we should put together a team to broaden our research.

Time travel is just always such a per rendition contrivance and for a movie to explain it's brand of time travel down to the intricacies required by some people would take so absurdly long that it'd be to the detriment of the film. Whenever it's in a film you have to allow for a certain amount of give in what happens, a sort of "that crazy time travel!" state of mind. Until we discover time travel and it's rules are set in stone and when that happens we can go back in time and retroactively change all films involving time travel. Or can we???

Or maybe they already have come back, but not to fix it, to make it worse! OH SHIT, LET'S MAKE THAT A MOVIE!!

Shame edit: invoking 'meta' even in jest is unconscionable.

#43 Posted by Freshbandito (689 posts) -

@TheHT said:

@Freshbandito said:

@TheHT: Damn! we should put together a team to broaden our research.

Time travel is just always such a per rendition contrivance and for a movie to explain it's brand of time travel down to the intricacies required by some people would take so absurdly long that it'd be to the detriment of the film. Whenever it's in a film you have to allow for a certain amount of give in what happens, a sort of "that crazy time travel!" state of mind. Until we discover time travel and it's rules are set in stone and when that happens we can go back in time and retroactively change all films involving time travel. Or can we???

Or maybe they already have come back, but not to fix it, to make it worse! OH SHIT, LET'S MAKE THAT A MOVIE!!

So meta.

Ingenious! they travelled back in time trying to stop us discovering the secret to time travel because it destroyed their society when assholes used the technology to travel back in time to post spoilers before movies/games go into production.

#44 Posted by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

@TheHT said:

@FlarePhoenix said:


I'm not a doctor either, but even if the wound wasn't serious enough to require the jaw getting removed, it is still possible for that to be why it occurs. Given that he is on the run, hiding in a train, it's likely he isn't heading straight for a hospital (either because he doesn't want to be found, or he doesn't know where to find one) so the jaw could become infected and need to be removed. I can't say for sure, but I don't think you can say "well it didn't look too bad in that one brief scene, so that isn't what caused it". They talk about the Rainmaker having an artificial jaw, and we see Cid get his jaw injured. Both events are completely pointless if they're not connected.

If Sid is really the boss of everything in the future, wouldn't he just kill the Loopers himself? If no one can touch him, why would he need to hide the fact he was killing them? In fact, it makes little sense to send them back in time because they could potentially escape and try to kill him when he is just a little kid (you know, the plot of the movie).

I've said nothing about alternate timelines, worlds or dimensions: you're the one who keeps bringing that into the discussion for some reason. As I have been trying to explain, and the movie does back me up on this, is that the timeline is constantly repeating itself. If it weren't, the entire movie would be Joe grows old, gets sent back in time, and gets killed by his younger self. However, since the future can be altered, it means the timeline can be altered at any time. The timeline might be a straight line, but you can jump to any point in it. If you change something, it changes everything in the line from that point onwards (as we see, when the other future guy who escapes loses limbs as his younger self gets them cut off).

I know we agreed to disagree, but I was unaware of this posts existence, and since it makes significant progress in our discussion, I'd like to at least respond to some important points you've made.

The entire movie does have Joe getting old and getting sent back in time and killed by himself. And then that Joe grows old and is sent back but not killed. And then the events of the movie unfold and both Joes die, and no Old Joe is sent back (since the Young Joe that would've become Old Joe is dead), and then the world goes on.

@FlarePhoenix said:


Okay, so we have one single timeline that can be changed and can be visited at any point. The events in the past determine the future, but because of time travel the future can also impact the events of the past (Joe going back in time and not getting killed heavily changed the events of the past. He never would have met Sara or Cid if he hadn't). Since Joe killed himself, he was never sent back in time, and the events of the movie didn't happen since Joe never met Sara and Cid, and killed himself to protect them. It means, if someone were to jump into a time machine and go back to the past, Joe would still be alive, and Cid would be on his way to becoming the Rainmaker. So he hasn't really changed anything by killing himself.

If Sid can become the Rainmaker through multiple events, that's just too much of a coincidence for my liking. Besides, if it was some other event that originally did it, Young Joe killing himself becomes even more pointless as the other event would still happen. Saying "the end result will be the same, but it can be caused in a number of different fashions" is just lazy writing.

OK, you're headed in the right direction. Now, since Young Joe killed himself it means Old Joe would not have come back in time, because he would be long dead thirty years from then. However, the acts that he did after coming back thirty years but prior to Young Joe killing himself will still have happened. He stops existing, but the effects of his coming do not vanish as well. Suppose you cut an elastic band, and pull on one end while the other is firmly in place. The more you pull, you find that things on your way are moved as well. Now when you let go, the elastic band doesn't shoot back retracting all of that ground, moving everything back as it was. Instead, when you let go the elastic band simply disappears. That is what happened when Old Joe disappeared, after Young Joe killed himself. The problem then that you've been talking about, which I now understand, whereby Young Joe's death would mean that he would not grow old and come back in time and cause Young Joe to meet Sara and Cid, is no longer a problem.

Old Joe when he comes back, is a body that technically doesn't exist. There are no records of him, his history is a delicate memory, and his yesterday hasn't happened yet. But he obviously does physically exist. His actions still have consequences, and those consequences stick even if he stops existing thereafter. So if someone else were to jump back to the middle of the movie, Old Joe would still be there, pulled out of a history that technically never existed.

The reason that another event most likely will not result in the creation of the Rainmaker is because of Young Joe's interaction with Sara and Cid. It was only at that last moment that Cid truly accepted Sara as his mom, and the prior animosity he fostered for her dissipated. Since Young Joe stopped Old Joe from killing Sara, she will continue to raise Cid lovingly. And with his newfound acceptance of Sara, Cid would not be resistant and spiteful towards her.

One obvious contestation to this is saying "well since they're still in the farm, something could still happen to Sara what with all the vagrants that find their way there" but the movie strongly suggests that the two will be more well off. Quite literally, given that Sara finds the knocked over truck Young Joe was driving that's overflowing with gold bars.

Of course, at that point someone could dig in their heels and say something bad could still happen, but the movie gives you enough to work with that believing enough good has and will have happened to save Cid from becoming the Rainmaker is not so untenable a conclusion.

And with that, I believe I've said my piece.

But that still doesn't work. We can both agree when someone travels back in time, it has some effect on the events of the past, yeah? When Old Joe gets sent back from the future and is killed immediately, Young Joe grows up, gets married and lives out his life for the thirty years. When Old Joe gets sent back from the future and escapes, it leads to Young Joe meeting Sara and Cid, and ultimately killing himself to stop his future self. The timeline is significantly altered.

I think we're in agreement the timeline is like a straight line. However, there is also a circular aspect to it when it comes to the loopers. When their loop is closed, a Looper will continuously play out the same thirty years over and over again (unless something changes). They will kill themselves, live for thirty years, and get sent back in time to kill themselves, yeah?

However, because Young Joe killed himself before he was ever sent back in time, it changes everything. Since he no long exists to be sent back in time, it means it is not possible for him to be sent back. Old Joe would not be sent back, and Young Joe would never meet Sara and Cid and ultimately kill himself. The movie demonstrates to us that a change to the past has an immediate effect on the future. So because Young Joe is now dead, it means Old Joe was never sent back in time, which means Young Joe never had to chase him, never met Sara and Sid and never killed himself. It's the same problem: Young Joe killing himself relies entirely on Old Joe coming back in time and trying to kill Sid, but Old Joe cannot be sent back in time if he is already dead.

Alright, this is the bit that is really starting to confuse me. Your argument for how the Sid/Old Joe connection makes sense is based entirely on the premise the events happened in a different way the first time around (since Old Joe didn't come back in time, but Cid became the Rainmaker anyway). However, now you're telling me because Old Joe was stopped, there is no other way Cid could become the Rainmaker. If your saying Cid became the Rainmaker through some method other than Old Joe, than it has to still be a possibility even after Joe kills himself (ignoring the whole paradox, which makes killing himself impossible). Unless I'm really misunderstanding, you seem to keep going back and forth on this part.

#45 Posted by Marcsman (3262 posts) -

Good movie I enjoyed it. Plus you can never go wrong with Piper Perabo's tits.

#46 Posted by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

@Freshbandito said:

@TheHT: Damn! we should put together a team to broaden our research.

Time travel is just always such a per rendition contrivance and for a movie to explain it's brand of time travel down to the intricacies required by some people would take so absurdly long that it'd be to the detriment of the film. Whenever it's in a film you have to allow for a certain amount of give in what happens, a sort of "that crazy time travel!" state of mind. Until we discover time travel and it's rules are set in stone and when that happens we can go back in time and retroactively change all films involving time travel. Or can we???

Ninja edit: I'm not ridiculing the back and fore of the actually quite interesting debate you're having about the way time travel works in this movie. It's just kind of weird how movies often inspire thoughts far beyond the purview of the writer/director.

Well even if time travel was invented, it would quickly get erased. Let's say you made the time machine because you really wanted to see what Nintendo looked like when it first opened. If you invented time travel and did that, your past self would now have no reason to want to invent time travel and would never invent it. You could argue they would want to invent time travel for some other reason, but eventually they would run out of reasons.

#47 Edited by Philantrophy (354 posts) -

I just want to know one thing.

WHY DIDN'T JGL JUST SHOOT OFF HIS ARM.

#48 Posted by TheHT (11686 posts) -

@FlarePhoenix said:


But that still doesn't work. We can both agree when someone travels back in time, it has some effect on the events of the past, yeah? When Old Joe gets sent back from the future and is killed immediately, Young Joe grows up, gets married and lives out his life for the thirty years. When Old Joe gets sent back from the future and escapes, it leads to Young Joe meeting Sara and Cid, and ultimately killing himself to stop his future self. The timeline is significantly altered.

I think we're in agreement the timeline is like a straight line. However, there is also a circular aspect to it when it comes to the loopers. When their loop is closed, a Looper will continuously play out the same thirty years over and over again (unless something changes). They will kill themselves, live for thirty years, and get sent back in time to kill themselves, yeah?

However, because Young Joe killed himself before he was ever sent back in time, it changes everything. Since he no long exists to be sent back in time, it means it is not possible for him to be sent back. Old Joe would not be sent back, and Young Joe would never meet Sara and Cid and ultimately kill himself. The movie demonstrates to us that a change to the past has an immediate effect on the future. So because Young Joe is now dead, it means Old Joe was never sent back in time, which means Young Joe never had to chase him, never met Sara and Sid and never killed himself. It's the same problem: Young Joe killing himself relies entirely on Old Joe coming back in time and trying to kill Sid, but Old Joe cannot be sent back in time if he is already dead.

Yes, we can certainly agree on those two points. Where we currently split though is when it comes down to Young Joe killing himself.

First I should say that while there is a circular aspect to loopers, technically those thirty years are a loop, but that circularity isn't naturally occurring. Instead, that circularity is the result of both the time travel and the end of contract provision.

Young Joe killing himself stops Old Joe from existing, but there isn't a retroactive domino effect that undues everything Old Joe does. Since the loop is man-made, there is nothing to the timeline that requires that Young Joe survives so that he can return as Old Joe for the events of the movie to continue to unfold. The timeline simply continues onward. I can't believe I'm doing this, but to hell with it, I already dun did it:

You can see that when Old Joe loops back and isn't killed, Young Joe's history splits off from Old Joe's history. At that point the timeline is changed as well. Then, when Young Joe kills himself, it also causes Old Joe to disappear. The timeline however would still continue along its new path, regardless of their demise.

@FlarePhoenix said:


Alright, this is the bit that is really starting to confuse me. Your argument for how the Sid/Old Joe connection makes sense is based entirely on the premise the events happened in a different way the first time around (since Old Joe didn't come back in time, but Cid became the Rainmaker anyway). However, now you're telling me because Old Joe was stopped, there is no other way Cid could become the Rainmaker. If your saying Cid became the Rainmaker through some method other than Old Joe, than it has to still be a possibility even after Joe kills himself (ignoring the whole paradox, which makes killing himself impossible). Unless I'm really misunderstanding, you seem to keep going back and forth on this part.

I'm not saying that there is no other way Cid could become the Rainmaker. Given that Cid has accepted Sara as his mom (something that we have no reason to believe would have happened without Young Joe's interaction) and also that Old Joe was stopped from killing Sara (who now has a considerable amount of gold), the timeline is altered enough that I can't find anything from the movie that suggests Cid would still end up going down the 'bad path'. I can imagine a situation where Sara is killed later on, but I think that enough good has happened to Cid that he won't turn.

This of course can be denied more readily that the rules of time travel. You can, if you'd like, believe that Cid still ends of becoming the Rainmaker, but you would have to contest the developments of the ending (Cid accepting Sara and Sara finding the gold). Doing so would require making up more things not in the movie, such that believing that the good streak at the end of the movie (for Cid and Sara) continues ends up being better supported by the movie, and thus more likely.

So to clarify, in Old Joe's history, Cid became the Rainmaker from some other event (or possibly even the mere lack of Young Joes interaction). In the changed timeline, Cid is headed in a different direction. While it is possible that something could happen that sets Cid back on to the bad path, there isn't anything to suggest that would be the case. I suppose it would come down to whether you'd like to believe there's ultimately a happy ending or not, but that discussion doesn't have any bearing on the nature of time travel discussion.

#49 Posted by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

@TheHT said:

@FlarePhoenix said:


But that still doesn't work. We can both agree when someone travels back in time, it has some effect on the events of the past, yeah? When Old Joe gets sent back from the future and is killed immediately, Young Joe grows up, gets married and lives out his life for the thirty years. When Old Joe gets sent back from the future and escapes, it leads to Young Joe meeting Sara and Cid, and ultimately killing himself to stop his future self. The timeline is significantly altered.

I think we're in agreement the timeline is like a straight line. However, there is also a circular aspect to it when it comes to the loopers. When their loop is closed, a Looper will continuously play out the same thirty years over and over again (unless something changes). They will kill themselves, live for thirty years, and get sent back in time to kill themselves, yeah?

However, because Young Joe killed himself before he was ever sent back in time, it changes everything. Since he no long exists to be sent back in time, it means it is not possible for him to be sent back. Old Joe would not be sent back, and Young Joe would never meet Sara and Cid and ultimately kill himself. The movie demonstrates to us that a change to the past has an immediate effect on the future. So because Young Joe is now dead, it means Old Joe was never sent back in time, which means Young Joe never had to chase him, never met Sara and Sid and never killed himself. It's the same problem: Young Joe killing himself relies entirely on Old Joe coming back in time and trying to kill Sid, but Old Joe cannot be sent back in time if he is already dead.

Yes, we can certainly agree on those two points. Where we currently split though is when it comes down to Young Joe killing himself.

First I should say that while there is a circular aspect to loopers, technically those thirty years are a loop, but that circularity isn't naturally occurring. Instead, that circularity is the result of both the time travel and the end of contract provision.

Young Joe killing himself stops Old Joe from existing, but there isn't a retroactive domino effect that undues everything Old Joe does. Since the loop is man-made, there is nothing to the timeline that requires that Young Joe survives so that he can return as Old Joe for the events of the movie to continue to unfold. The timeline simply continues onward. I can't believe I'm doing this, but to hell with it, I already dun did it:

You can see that when Old Joe loops back and isn't killed, Young Joe's history splits off from Old Joe's history. At that point the timeline is changed as well. Then, when Young Joe kills himself, it also causes Old Joe to disappear. The timeline however would still continue along its new path, regardless of their demise.

@FlarePhoenix said:


Alright, this is the bit that is really starting to confuse me. Your argument for how the Sid/Old Joe connection makes sense is based entirely on the premise the events happened in a different way the first time around (since Old Joe didn't come back in time, but Cid became the Rainmaker anyway). However, now you're telling me because Old Joe was stopped, there is no other way Cid could become the Rainmaker. If your saying Cid became the Rainmaker through some method other than Old Joe, than it has to still be a possibility even after Joe kills himself (ignoring the whole paradox, which makes killing himself impossible). Unless I'm really misunderstanding, you seem to keep going back and forth on this part.

I'm not saying that there is no other way Cid could become the Rainmaker. Given that Cid has accepted Sara as his mom (something that we have no reason to believe would have happened without Young Joe's interaction) and also that Old Joe was stopped from killing Sara (who now has a considerable amount of gold), the timeline is altered enough that I can't find anything from the movie that suggests Cid would still end up going down the 'bad path'. I can imagine a situation where Sara is killed later on, but I think that enough good has happened to Cid that he won't turn.

This of course can be denied more readily that the rules of time travel. You can, if you'd like, believe that Cid still ends of becoming the Rainmaker, but you would have to contest the developments of the ending (Cid accepting Sara and Sara finding the gold). Doing so would require making up more things not in the movie, such that believing that the good streak at the end of the movie (for Cid and Sara) continues ends up being better supported by the movie, and thus more likely.

So to clarify, in Old Joe's history, Cid became the Rainmaker from some other event (or possibly even the mere lack of Young Joes interaction). In the changed timeline, Cid is headed in a different direction. While it is possible that something could happen that sets Cid back on to the bad path, there isn't anything to suggest that would be the case. I suppose it would come down to whether you'd like to believe there's ultimately a happy ending or not, but that discussion doesn't have any bearing on the nature of time travel discussion.

It kind of does, actually. As I've said multiple times, the one thing we know for sure about the time travel in this movie is that events in the past have a direct effect on the future. If the past self decides to get a tattoo, said tattoo will automatically appear on the future self. If the past self is killed, it will remove the future self from existence because they are now dead. Therefore, Old Joe getting sent back in time is entirely dependent on Young Joe living long enough to get sent back in time. I'm not really sure how that point can be argued. Old Joe cannot be sent back in time if he is not alive to be sent back.

The reason Young Joe winds up killing himself is because of Old Joe's interference. Since Young Joe never would have killed himself without Old Joe being sent back, and because Old Joe cannot be sent back if Young Joe kills himself, it's really not possible for Young Joe to have killed himself. Since he did, it would alter the timeline to the point where he is alive, never meets Sara and Cid, and Cid grows up to be the Rainmaker.

It's entirely possible for Cid to still become the Rainmaker. Not THAT much good has happened. Say, for example, Sarah was shot by some random lunatic the very next day: Sid isn't going to go "well some good things happened to me yesterday, so this doesn't bother me", he's probably going to go "I want revenge: I got money, I got power, let's go fuck some shit up!"

#50 Posted by bvilleneuve (266 posts) -

Looper is a great movie. Anybody complaining about the particulars of the time travel is missing the fucking point. Orcs don't really exist, but I can still watch Lord of the Rings without immediately getting on Internet afterwards and airing my conniptions.

Also I'm guessing the guy complaining about the narrator has never seen another piece of film noir in his life, and is therefore ill-equipped to talk about Looper.