I know Bruce Willis told us not to, but I’ve been thinking about the Time Travel in Looper.
Let’s start with Seth’s timeline. We know that when Future and Past versions of the same person co-exist in the same present, the Future person doesn’t experience changes in their ‘Past which is yet to be’ until after those changes are made, yet those changes don’t affect the Past from the point of view of the present. When Future Seth arrives in 2044, he is able bodied and uses said able body to escape his past self. Past Seth is captured and mutilated by a Mob Doctor (He eventually has his nose, tongue, and limbs amputated). These mutilations only appear on Future Seth after they’ve been made on Past Seth, so he was still able bodied when he arrived, even though Past Seth isn’t.
Does this make sense? I believe it does. Since Mutilated Seth couldn’t have escaped his past self, the loop would have been closed in that timeline, meaning that Seth remained able bodied, who is the Future Seth that appeared in the Running Loop timeline. We have two timelines, one with a Running Loop and one with a Closed Loop, and these two timelines perpetually give birth to each other. The Path is a Circle, and I think that makes sense.
In Joe’s Closed Loop , he did not create the Rainmaker. The Rainmaker presumably killed his mother in a fit a telekinetic rage (in this timeline, he’s closing loops for practical reasons, not to prevent a Looper from murdering his mother). In the Running Loop, Cid’s interactions with Past Joe may have improved his relationship with his mother and prevented him from killing her. Unfortunately, Future Joe is set on killing him, kills his mother instead, causing him to become the Rainmaker. It’s only slightly different from the Closed Loop Timeline, and becomes self-perpetuating. It’s an infinite Running Loop that came from altering a singular Closed Loop, and I also think that makes sense.
Of course, Past Joe breaks the infinite cycle by killing himself. At that moment, Future Joe ceases to be. However he still exists from the point he arrived until Joe’s suicide, but unlike in Seth’s case there’s no alternate Timeline from where he could have come from. The Closed Loop was erased by Joe’s suicide, but without the Closed Loop Future Joe can’t exist, and thus neither can the Running Loop. This is definitely a paradox. With no Future Joe, there is no Running Loop, meaning the timeline we see at the end of the movie can’t exist. The Closed Loop has to exist to create the Running Loop, but the Running Loop erases the Closed Loop and thus prevents the Running Loop from ever existing, thus allowing the Closed Loop to exist, spawn the Running Loop that erases it, and so on. The way I see it, this is a Grandfather Paradox and thus cannot really exist.
Maybe Bruce Willis just kicked causality in the balls.
I have a few other nitpicks with the movie (the low tech future, why Loopers kill themselves when it would be just as easy to have another Looper do it, why Joe think’s Suzie’s kid could be the Rainmaker when that’s clearly a girl’s bedroom), but overall I liked the movie. Just don’t think too hard about the Time Travel. It’s just a plot device, and it will fry your brain like an egg.