Rian Johnson's Looper is the futuristic noir movie we've been waiting for

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Rian Johnson's Brick made the unlikely fusion of noir and high-school drama into one of the decade's most compelling films. So we were excited to read some script pages from his next movie, the futuristic Looper. Which is even better.

Spoilers ahead...

So we got hold of a bunch of script pages from Johnson's Looper, which were released for casting purposes. The usual caveats apply — these may not be the final script and they're not the entire screenplay, plus they could always be random scenes written just for casting purposes. But they certainly appear to be pages from Looper's final script, including page numbers that jump around in the film. We believe they're genuine.


When we interviewed Johnson last year, he told us he aims to make Looper like Children Of Men — but after reading these pages, we're actually reminded a bit more of Twelve Monkeys. Which is by no means bad news, and is sort of fitting since Bruce Willis plays someone from the future who's come back in time. (Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the other main character, Joe.)

The movie is very, very dark, and a return to the "noir" feel of Brick after Johnson's more light-hearted The Brothers Bloom. His main characters are all small-time crooks who are struggling to become big players in a world where it's obvious that they're actually doomed. the overall feel is very dystopian and bleak.


As Johnson told Cinematical back in May, Looper takes place 30 years in the future, when the world has gone to hell. Time travel hasn't been invented yet — but a few decades later, it will be. So when people in the world of 2070-ish want to kill someone, they send him or her back in time to the world of 2040-ish, where the murder victim appears, hogtied and hooded. And then a new class of criminals, the Loopers, shoot the victim and dispose of the body. No muss, no fuss.

Our main character is a looper named Joe, who's trying to be smart and plan for his future. He's got a ton of gold bars hidden away in a secret safe. But he's also addicted to hallucinogenic drugs that he squirts into his eyes. Joe's best friend is a fellow looper named Seth, who squanders all his money on stupid shit like a hoverbike ("a slat bike") that doesn't even work. Seth is telekinetic, but it's only good for levitating pennies. Joe has a great voiceover at one point about how telekinesis is tacky:

When the TK mutation started appearing in the general populace it was on every magazine — "Next Step in Evolution, what's next." Everyone got tested. But turns out this was it, and now it's just a bunch of assholes thinking they're blowing your mind by floating quarters.


The "loopers" are looked down on by the real gangsters, the Gat Men, who include the cruel Kid Blue. The Gat Men and loopers hang out at the nightclub La Belle Aurore, where posers and wannabes hang out in front by the velvet rope.

I don't want to give away too much of the movie's plot — let's just say it's a classic noir storyline, in which petty criminals all screw the pooch and end up on the run. Seth recognizes one of the victims who's sent back in time for him to murder and lets the victim get away — in looper parlance, this is known as "letting the loop run" — and having a man from the future running around leads to other consequences. Just like in Twelve Monkeys and some other classic time-travel stories, there are older and younger versions of the same character running around at once.


Joe winds up hiding out at a farmhouse where he meets Sara (I'm guessing this is Emily Blunt's character), a single mom who's adopted a young boy named Cid.

And there are hints that a new figure is rising in the further future — the world of 2070-ish — a "holy terror boss man" who's "closing all the loops." Eventually we start to get an inkling that this future holy terror might be someone we've already met.


All in all, after reading parts of the screenplay, we can't wait to see the whole thing. Apparently it starts filming in late January in New Orleans.