What I Think Really Happened in Looper (Spoilers)
If you haven’t seen Looper yet, stop reading now.
Francisca and I saw Looper this afternoon and really enjoyed it. Fantastic writing, directing, and acting. I have a theory on what was really happening in the film that I want to share.
Everyone assumes that Cid is the child who could grow up to be The Rainmaker. He’s got incredible telekinetic power, he’s on Old Joe’s (Bruce Willis) list, he’s creepy as hell, and Old Joe may have killed his mother in front of him. So, it must be Cid, right? Actually, I think someone else from Old Joe’s list is our culprit. The daughter of Suzie the showgirl (Piper Perabo) grows up to be The Rainmaker.
Let’s start by considering the odds of something that the film would have us believe is sheer happenstance. There are only three possible suspects out of all the children in Kansas City who could be the young Rainmaker. Strangely, Young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) happens to be close to the mother of one of those children. And, that mother happens to be employed by the criminal organization that The Rainmaker is running from the future. She works for Abe (Jeff Daniels) and sleeps with loopers for money. What an amazing, amazing coincidence.
Think about it. Who is more likely to become a future criminal mastermind, a child growing up in rural sugar cane fields with his kind-hearted mother or a child living in the middle of the criminal enterprise the mastermind will later run?
Having Cid be The Rainmaker also presents a huge logic problem. In the original timeline, The Rainmaker would have risen to power prior to Old Joe going back in time and thus prior to Old Joe (possibly) killing Cid’s mother, Sara (Emily Blunt). Old Cid in the original timeline would have no reason to hate loopers. It’s only after the looping starts that Cid gets a clear motive for the looping, and that’s too late logically.
Next, we have another interesting plot point. Upon assuming power in 2074, the mysterious Rainmaker starts closing the loops of loopers left and right. No one seems to know why. And, on the face if it, the loop closings don’t make logical sense.
The loopers have been useful to the criminal organization, but that stops when their contracts end. They don’t appear to have been disloyal (outside of sometimes not closing their own loops). Paying loopers in the gold to close their own loops is expensive.
The timing of the loop closings also seems odd. Why would The Rainmaker choose to let loopers stay alive in 2044, live for 30 years, and give them a bunch of gold bars to spend during that time, only to decide in 2074 they are all a huge risk that must be eliminated?
The closing of the loops actually makes perfect sense if you understand that Suzie’s daughter becomes The Rainmaker. She is ordering the loop closings in the future to protect herself. Part of The Rainmaker’s power derives from no one knowing who they are or even what they look like. They are the Keyser Söze of 2074. And, they want to keep it that way.
The problem for Suzie’s daughter is that everyone has a past, no matter how hard they try to cover it up. Suzie and the loopers all worked for Abe. Suzie also slept with loopers. Loopers like Seth and Joe may have seen Suzie’s daughter, met her, or heard Suzie talk about her.
The loopers wouldn’t have thought much about the daughter when she was young, and may have largely forgotten her by 2074. But, little shreds of memory would have remained that could be jogged. They could just be little scraps. The date of a birthday party. A remembered baby homecoming or baby photo from a hospital. Even those small bits of information would be very dangerous to The Rainmaker.
My last bit of support for this theory is the weakest. I’m not sure about this point, but it fits the theory well. (I also think the theory holds just based on the points above even if you don’t buy this one.)
When Young Joe tells Suzie that he is going to leave and give her half his silver bars, her reaction isn’t at all what you would expect. Given Suzie’s profession, economic status, and the demands of raising a child, you would think an offer of silver bars would be greeted with delight. Instead, she reacts with anger, seems insulted, and pulls back from Joe emotionally. That could just be the nature of her character. But, I don’t think so.
Abe comes from the future and works for The Rainmaker. It’s possible Abe or someone else is giving Suzie extra money or has even clued her in to some degree. She may know that her daughter will be wealthy and so is not worried about future income. She may even know that Joe’s loop will probably be closed, and so doesn’t want to get emotionally attached to him.
I admit I may be reading too much into Suzie’s behavior. But, her reaction to Joe’s offer and even the entire character of Suzie herself aren’t needed in the film unless they have an underlying significance. It feels like there is more to Suzie than meets the eye.
I think Suzie’s daughter rose to power quietly, in the shadows and is running Abe, the loopers, the Shanghai gun thugs, and countless others as The Rainmaker. I’m sure everyone will now tell me how wrong I am or that I’m massively over-analyzing Looper. But, I had to share!
This has been updated to note that Suzie has a daughter rather than a son. Many thanks to Rachel for pointing that out! I think there may have been a scene in the movie where Seth or Old Joe refer to The Rainmaker as “he or she” or say no one knows if they are a man or a woman. Was there?
Arbitrage on Apple TV
We just watched Arbitrage. It’s an amazing film and Richard Gere will probably get an Oscar nod. Susan Sarandon and others are also excellent. But, there are plenty of good critics who can tell you all that.
Just amazing to me as the film itself is that we rented it on our Apple TV for $6.99. It was released in cinemas and “direct to video” simultaneously on Friday. When I saw it on Apple TV this afternoon, I did a double take. I just couldn’t believe it. We were able to watch a newly-released film with top-notch writing, directing, and acting as soon as it came out via streaming to our home for $6.99. If that has happened very often before, it’s news to me.
I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t seen others writing about this. Am I the only one who thinks some sort of entertainment rubicon got crossed this weekend? I certainly hope this is a harbinger of our cinematic future.