09/27/2012 08:21 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

'Looper': Is Rian Johnson's Film Super Duper? (And 24 Other Urgent Questions)

looper review

In the new time-travel thriller Looper, Bruce Willis (Mercury Rising) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) both star as Joe, an assassin who must kill his older self when he comes back from the future. Did that last sentence confuse you? Is Looper one of the best movies of the year? As a service, we ask and answer every question that you could possibly have about Looper.

Q: Is Looper the story of former New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Braden Looper?

A: No, thankfully.

Q: Is "Looper" the main character's last name? Does Joseph Gordon-Levitt play Johnny Looper?

A: No. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a Kansas City resident from 2044 who makes a living as a looper.

Q: What is a looper?

A: A person whose specialty is killing people that were sent back to 2044 from the future.

Q: Wait, why are people being sent from the future to be killed?

A: Because in 2074, time travel is possible. Also, in 2074, it's very difficult to dispose of a dead body. So, these unfortunate souls are sent back in time and then shot on sight.

Q: Between now and 2044, have the Kansas City Royals made the postseason?

A: It's not specifically mentioned, but it's probably safe to assume "no."

Q: What is it like to live in Kansas City, circa 2044? Is it the definition of "dystopian"?

A: Well, if you looked up "dystopian" in the dictionary, you would find a general definition for the word "dystopian." But, Kansas City, circa 2044, seems like a very large city without much law and order. (Though, from my personal experience, it still looks more appealing than living in Kansas City circa 1992, even with the random street violence.)

Q: What is the benefit to being a looper?

A: For each kill, a looper is paid handsomely in silver. When a looper eventually "closes his loop," he's paid even more handsomely in gold.

Q: What does "closing your loop" mean?

A: A Looper retires once he has killed his older, future self. The good news: A former looper lives the life of luxury for the next 30 years.

Q: What's the bad news?

A: The looper also knows that his younger self will shoot him in the chest in 30 years. So, there's that. Unfortunately for Joe, he gets quite a surprise when it's time to close his loop.

Q: Detective Robert Monday?

A: Sadly, it's unknown if the events that took place during Premium Rush exist in the same universe as Looper.

Q: If it's not Detective Robert Monday, what is Joe's surprise?

A: It's Joe's turn to close his loop. Unfortunately, his older self (Bruce Willis) appears without the usual restraints that most of the condemned are forced to wear (which is later explained) and proceeds to escape.

Q: What are the ramifications of old Joe's escape?

A: Plenty! Not only is old Joe on the run, but young Joe is on the run, too, from his boss (Jeff Daniels) -- who is not pleased about the escape.

Q: What are the punishments for letting a loop run?

A: Well, as we see earlier in the film, if the younger version of the person is captured, it's much too dangerous to just kill that person because of the effect it might have on the future (as you probably learned from Doc Brown in Back to the Future) -- but, that doesn't mean body parts can't be removed to persuade the older self to turn himself in. In other words: It's quite gruesome.

Q: So, is the rest of the movie just young Joe chasing around old Joe?

A: No. Midway into Looper, the film takes a quite dramatic shift in tone -- focusing on Emily Blunt's Sara.

Q: Who is Sara?

A: Sara owns a farm somewhere in Kansas. Young Joe takes refuge there with Sara and her young son.

Q: What is old Joe doing at this point?

A: Apparently in the future, a criminal mastermind nicknamed "The Rainmaker" is wreaking havoc.

Q: Oh, Rudy Baylor?

A: No, the "Rainmaker" in Looper does not possess a law degree. That we know of. This "Rainmaker" is the one responsible for all of the loops being closed as of late. Old Joe's plan is to find and kill the young "Rainmaker."

Q: Is the young "Rainmaker" played by Matt Damon?

A: Again, the events of Looper have nothing to do with the 1997 movie based on a John Grisham novel.

Q: In conversations with other people who have seen Looper, how many times has "The Rainmaker" been accidentally referred to as "Rain Man"?

A: Once.

Q: So far, is Looper one of the best movies of the year?

A: Yes.

Q: What makes Looper so good?

A: I saw Looper shortly after the CGI fest that was the Total Recall remake. Thankfully director Rian Johnson brings a gritty, almost indie feel to Looper, which serves the tone well. The film doesn't get bogged down with its effects and lets the story be front and center.

Q: In your life, how many times have you caught yourself spelling Rian Johnson's name as "Rain Johnson"?

A: Eight.

Q: Will the time travel element of Looper give me a headache if I think about it for too long?

A: As with any time travel movie ... yes, it will.

Q: Are the prosthetics that Joseph Gordon-Levitt wears to appear more like Bruce Willis distracting?

A: Strangely, it's far more distracting in the promotional photos than it is in the actual movie.

Q: How many drinks would it take for you to reply to Sony's email requesting a response to the movie (which could show up in their advertisements), with the sentence that you were dared into putting into the title of this post: "Looper is Super Duper! - Mike Ryan, The Huffington Post"?

A: Between six and seven.

Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.

Looper Premieres At TIFF