(I'll feel guilty if I don't say) *SPOILER* but there is a scene in "Looper" where a character's Loop is left running. He's about to kill his future self but can't do it. For reasons better seen than explained the future self of this person is left to disappear (much like an "R" rated movie of "Back to the Future"). He gets into a car in a desperate struggle to get to an address carved in his arm by his former self. The way this scene acts out is deeply hinged on the fact that we buy these characters as they are. It leaves a plot-hole but fills it with a poetic nightmare encompassing our worse fears; That we have found a way to survive in the abyss, only to see we are being devoured by it, and all it hopes to cover up.
This aspect is what I focused on. The plot-holes. It is something that time-travel movies are more prone to than others, but when we are left questioning with "Looper," we are left to the image we saw before it and the image we will see after, and they tell a very haunting and cautionary tale. This movie deals with plot-holes in the best way: by focusing on what is important.
Time travel, we are told in narration by the main character, exists in the future but is outlawed, and is used only by those in major crime syndicates to dispose of bodies in the(ir) present by sending the mark back in time to be assassinated by a specialized assassin called a Looper. Easy money. The Looper waits out in an isolated area, pocket watch in hand (guess the future never caught onto digital) and blasts the target the second they appear in their present, taking the silver strapped to their back as payment. Joe, our main character, is such an assassin who like all Loopers agree to a very specific prevision: They must carry out all executions. Even if the person appearing before them is themselves. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, an assassin who finds himself in such a situation but fails to kill his future self. Bruce Willis plays his future self.
"Looper" however is about much more. It's not about shining light on time travel, but on making us familiar with the demons lurking in the shadows of the characters. It's about characters who travel to impossible distances to find their humanity. To explain anymore is to do disservice to an original experience which rarely comes around. In content and ambition, it is equal parts "The Terminator" and "The Shining," but have no doubt about it, it succeeds on its own two feet. I'm glad I knew of this movie on superficial terms. It left a lot to discover on my first viewing and made me appreciate it more on my third viewing. If there's a better movie this year, I can't wait to see it.