"Time Travel Dilemma"

Content: -2 Discretion advised for adults.

What You Need To Know:

LOOPER is a time travel story about a mob assassin, named Joe, who gets into trouble when he can’t assassinate his older self. Joe’s boss sends killers after both his younger self and his older self. Meanwhile, the older Joe is searching for the childhood version of the new crime boss from the future who ordered his assassination and had his wife killed. This causes a dilemma for the younger Joe, who thinks he’s just befriended the kid and his mother. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis star as the two Joes.

LOOPER has a complicated plot, but writer-director Rian Johnson’s ingenious script and direction keep this plot from being too confusing. Also, the performances in LOOPER are uniformly strong and the effects are spectacular. Best of all, the movie solves the plot problem with an act of sacrifice. This gives LOOOPER a light Christian, redemptive worldview. However, LOOPER is set in a dark world. It also contains plenty of very strong violence, foul language, brief nudity, and drug use, so extreme caution is advised.


(C, BB, Ev, O, LLL, VVV, S, NN, AA, DD, MM) Light Christian worldview with some strong moral elements but set in a dark world of gangsters and assassins, plus some people in this world have developed minor telekinetic powers, but one character has superhuman powers; 59 mostly strong obscenities (many “f” words), 18 strong profanities and two light exclamatory profanities; very strong and strong action violence showing some very bloody results includes several violent gun battles result in numerous deaths, violent fistfights, chokings, kicking, bad guy is kicked into a trap-door pit and has his hand smashed in trap door, implied killing of one child but killer eventually is punished, a couple of frantic car chases with mild imperilment of innocent bystanders, and a young boy is shown to have tremendous psychic powers that cause massive destruction to his home and kills a bad guy, who explodes, which leaves boy covered in blood; implied prostitution sex, implied fornication in one scene, and a visit to seedy nightclub with half nude strippers roaming the halls; upper female nudity in several shots, rear female nudity in one shot, and some brief upper male nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking and characters use eyedroppers to ingest drugs into their bodies but later getting off the drugs is seen as a good thing; and, betrayal, greed, gangsters control a city, protagonist begins as an assassin who works for the gangsters who pulled him out of the gutter, and boy has problems controlling his emotions and getting angry with his mother but she’s trying to train him to be a better person.

More Detail:

LOOPER is an action-packed yet intelligent thriller with a light Christian worldview where the plot problem is solved by an act of sacrifice. The movie provides plenty of thoughtful issues for adult audiences despite being marred by being set in a dark future society where foul language, drug use, and violence are rampant.

The movie stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the younger version of Joe. Joe is employed by the Mob in the near-future to kill people, who are kidnapped and cast thirty years into the past in Joe’s time where Joe, and others like him, can execute them. Joe’s narration informs viewers that, in the future, the authorities can track any dead body, so that’s why the Mob has to use time travel to dispose of its victims.

Joe’s life as an assassin pays well and gives him plenty of shallow comforts in the forms of drugs and affordable women, but Joe’s clearly unhappy with his life. However, the pace at which victims are being sent to him is accelerating and so are the closings of loops. Like all the mob’s assassins, Joe has agreed to kill his future self when it’s sent back into the past. This is called “closing the loop.” At that point, the assassin can retire and live off the fruit of his ill-gotten gains.

Joe sees the true horror of his job when he’s forced to let his best friend get killed because he didn’t kill himself. So, when Joe’s older self (played by Bruce Willis) appears before him, he can’t bring himself to kill the older Joe. The mob sends killers after both the young Joe and the older Joe.

Meanwhile, the older Joe is trying to find the younger version of “the Rainmaker,” the new crime boss who’s decided to start ordering the killing of all the older versions of the assassins, including Joe. The older Joe has found three possible identities for the younger version of this crime boss. The younger Joe is suddenly faced with a dilemma when he realizes that he’s just befriended the third possible boy and his caring mother.

Writer-director Rian Johnson’s ingenious script and direction keep this complicated plot from being too confusing. Also, the performances in LOOPER are uniformly strong and the effects are spectacular. Even better, LOOPER is a true rarity: an action movie with genuine intellectual and moral stakes. Basically, it wrestles with an old compelling game of philosophy and ethics. If you could go back in time and know who Adolf Hitler was as a boy, and knew what evils he would eventually perpetrate, would you kill young Adolf, or let him live and hope for the best?

That is an awful dilemma, but Johnson makes the question compelling and rife with nail-biting moments. Ultimately, the solution to the movie’s plot problem involves an act of sacrifice. This gives LOOPER a light Christian worldview. That said, LOOPER is not for children or young teens. It has some very strong violence that shows the bloody results of violence. It also has plenty of strong foul language. So, extreme caution is advised for LOOPER.