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Looper (2012)

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In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Old Joe's Wife (as Summer Qing)
Old Seth
Gat Man


Joe is classified as a "looper", a job in which his employers use time travel to send men from the future to be killed into the past, where Joe can properly dispose of their bodies. However, to tie up loose ends and erase the evidence of his ever being a looper, Joe knows that one day his future self will be sent back for him to kill. When this day comes, Joe's future self is prepared and escapes, and the two men struggle separately in the past trying to evade capture and attempting to fulfill their own personal agendas. Written by Ellen

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Face your future. Fight your past. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

28 September 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Looper: Asesinos del futuro  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,801,552, 30 September 2012, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The script originally called for Joe to move to Paris when he got older, which is why he spends the early scenes trying to learn French. However, Rian Johnson soon realized that they didn't have the money to shoot in Paris. He considered using New Orleans to "stand in" for Paris, but rejected that idea. The Chinese distributor for the film offered to pay for the crew to film in Shanghai, and Johnson accepted, both because it solved the Paris problem, and because he felt Shanghai better reflected the future setting of the movie. See more »


Late in the movie, when they are in the field, there are rows of some crop (maybe peanuts) then in another scene, the field is freshly plowed. Then there is grass or corn shown in the field. See more »


[first lines]
Joe: Time travel has not yet been invented. But thirty years from now, it will have been. It will be instantly outlawed, used only in secret by the largest criminal organizations. It's nearly impossible to dispose of a body in the future... I'm told. Tagging techniques, whatnot. So when these criminal organizations in the future need someone gone, they use specialized assassins in our present called "loopers." And so, my employers in the future nab the target, they zap him back to me, ...
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Help Pick Up the Pieces
Written by Shelley Dane
Performed by Buddy Stewart (as Buddy Stuart)
Courtesy of Lee Silver Productions
By arrangement with Songs for Film & TV
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Looper is a thrill ride that has a nice blend of thrilling action and matters of the heart.
7 October 2012 | by See all my reviews

Time travel sci-fi movies are inherently intriguing to me, so when I first saw the trailer with THIS cast, I knew I wanted to see it.

As in the trailer, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a specialized assassin, in an outfit called the Loopers. He lives in the year 2042 but the mob he works for lives 30 years ahead where time travel would've been invented. When his employer from the future wants to get rid of someone, they zap that person back 30 years where someone like Joe would be waiting with a big gun in hand, ready to blow them up to oblivion. The only rule is: never let your target escape... even if your target is you. The job seems easy enough, I mean, the targets are blindfolded, so it's not like they could really escape. That is, until one did, and that target happens to be his older self, in the form of Bruce Willis.

Now, before the action begins in full throttle, Director Rian Johnson sets up the story by introducing the Looper doing their jobs and how these junkies hit-men spend their lives in a dystopian future (is there any other kind in the movies??). "Loopers are well paid, they lead a good life..." Joe said in his narration, but what he means by 'good' doesn't mean a happy one and it's clear that Joe is disillusioned with his life.

Let me just say the less you know about the plot the better as I went in pretty much 'blind,' other than seeing the trailer weeks ago, and it's fun to see the story unravel in ways I didn't really expect. There's really a lot to chew on here, as do most time-travel movies, and I have to admit it was a bit mind-boggling to digest it all as I'm watching it, but now that I've processed the movie more, Johnson actually told the story well enough without an overly drawn-out exposition.

The strengths are in the performances, especially Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who seems to only get better and better as he grows to be a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. Seems like every time I see him, even in minor roles like in 'Inception' or 'The Dark Knight Rises,' he never fails to impress. I've got to admit though, his prosthetic make-up to make him look like Bruce Willis is distracting at times, but once I get into the story, I got used to it. In fact, in some scenes Gordon-Levitt's mannerism and expressions really do remind me of Willis! Now, I've always been a fan of Bruce. He's a bad ass guy with a heart and I feel that he sold me on the emotional moments as well as on the action front, in which he channels his iconic John McClane in the 'Die Hard' franchise. In fact, I kept waiting for him to yell 'Yiippiikayee' during some of the shootout scenes! I'm also impressed with Emily Blunt and child actor Pierce Gagnon who plays her little boy. Both played two key roles that serve as the emotional center of the story. Their paths crossed with both the younger and older Joe in a way that not only affect their own lives but the lives of Joe's fellow Loopers. Their scenes with Gordon-Levitt are well-played, though it could perhaps be tightened a bit as it does feel dragging at times. Jeff Daniels and Paul Dano also lend memorable supporting performances, Daniels is sort of a comic relief as Joe's manager who happens to be sent by the mob from the future.

It's refreshing to see a movie based on an original script, not an adaptation nor a remake. Despite all the time travel elements, the film also doesn't feel too science-fiction-y. I'm also glad Johnson doesn't pile on one action set pieces after another, instead there are a lot of quiet moments to establish character development that help you get immersed in Joe's journey.

Final Thoughts: Looper is a thrill ride that has a nice blend of thrilling action and matters of the heart. There are brutal action and some totally-unnecessary nudity here, but fortunately not so much so that derails my overall appreciation for it. At the core of this movie lies a heartfelt love story between a man and a woman, and also between a mother and his son. Highly recommended.

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