Archive for April, 2013

The Importance of Plot Part 3


An Analysis of Looper

Read part 1: The Importance of Plot – Part 1
Read part 2: The Importance of Plot – Part 2

In part 1 I talked about the logic problem of loopers having to kill their future selves. Part 2 dealt with the massive plot hole that derails the whole movie. Now I’m going to address some of the sub-plots, and ways they could come together at the end to increase the drama and catharsis of the ending. We’ll also look at some of the minor logic problems and some things that could have been fixed in the editing room.


There’s been a lot said about what a strong character Sara is, and on the surface I’d agree. However as we’ve discussed, there isn’t much depth to her. We don’t care for her anywhere near as much as Cid or old Joe because her story is relegated to the past, as exposition. Even in that final climax, Joe’s dilemma comes down to whether he thinks Cid’s life will be ruined or not, rather than whether Sara lives or dies. If Sara’s character had been stronger, maybe we could have also seen a glimmer of hope of a relationship between Sara and Joe. We could have had a real emotional conflict between young Joe and old Joe, together with a very healthy dose of dramatic irony. Picture that final stand-off between Sara, old Joe and young Joe and imagine if young Joe and Sara had a deeper connection.

While trying to save the relationship he knows, old Joe is about to kill Sara, unaware that she is becoming an equally soul restoring partner for young Joe, and possibly ruining any chance of young Joe finding love in the future. Young Joe faces a dilemma to save himself and live with the loss of Sara, or kill himself to save Sara, saving the life of old Joe’s wife in the process.

That’s really powerful stuff, a true emotional dilemma. But we miss out on it because Joe is too cynical to feel anything for Sara, and Sara’s only real concern is for Cid. As Johnson explains in the commentary, he didn’t want any romance between Joe and Sara so he could focus the story on Cid. What a shame that we missed out on that dramatic and emotional complexity.

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