Why didn't the mafia just close the loop on the first kill?

Wouldn't it be the obvious thing to do? That way you don't have to worry about people wondering if the next one is them.

4 Answers 4


It's possible that some loopers were left opportunities for advancement. If each looper killed himself right off the bat, how could they ever recruit upper management? Maybe outside of what Levitt's character explained, it was possible that some loopers aren't killed, and are instead promoted. Having a looper off himself first would mean that none would even try (although the way Levitt explained it, they wouldn't be the type anyway).

If not, then you're right though, having them close their loop in the beginning would work.

  • This seems the most plausible. Feb 22, 2013 at 7:19
  • Perhaps when loopers weren't used to the profession, they would be traumatised by killing themselves and leave the organisation. Also if every looper knew that their first job was going to be themselves, that would make it easier to get away with letting their loop run. Dec 19, 2015 at 0:39

No it doesn't make sense to do that because when would the Looper know when he was done killing or if he would get more hits. The Loopers are handling this and are handled as if it's a business arrangement. Nothing more. Yeah they kill but it's somebody in the future. "Who cares if an old man dies?" is the mentality they have. The end of your contract comes when you close your loop because how else would you guarantee that there is going to be more hits if you've already closed your loop. It'd be easier to get people to do a one time hit and kill themselves then it would be to make Loopers but less people would do that. See closing your loop is the last hit you take. You are of your contract after that. No more easy money. When you start though it's nothing but easy money and a lot of it but you know it doesn't end until you close your own loop. You are now a happy employee making easy money.

If you started your career by killing yourself that could cause some mental problems for even the least forward thinking of people. We can see this when each Looper is shown closing their loop. They look scared and it takes a toll on them when none of the other hits have but then they go out and party because what else are you going to do when you know how you will die. One more thing there is the potential that if someone started by killing themselves it may alter their mental state enough that they will try to do something that could alter time. Once a Looper ends their loop they are in a set pattern that ends the same way. If you started a Looper by ending their own loop then the pattern could change. Which is probably why Loopers that don't complete their loop end are hunted. Also Joe is an example of time changing because a loop wasn't completed correctly.

  • 3
    "When would the looper know when he was done killing or if he would get more hits?" Same way it works currently in the movie. The looper's last target would come back with gold instead of silver. The only difference being, in the OP's hypothetical version, the gold target isn't the looper's future self.
    – Kevin
    Feb 21, 2013 at 20:32
  • @Kevin But Aside from the pay day there is a psychological aspect to it. The contract is closed because you killed yourself. You aren't a bad guy because you had to kill yourself too and once you did the job is over and you never need to kill again. Feb 21, 2013 at 21:02
  • "You aren't a bad guy, because you had to kill yourself too". Can't agree with you there. Suicide doesn't absolve murder. In any case, the mafia shouldn't be recruiting loopers that would feel bad about killing strangers for money.
    – Kevin
    Feb 21, 2013 at 21:17
  • @Kevin I'm just checking. You aren't my loop are you? Feb 21, 2013 at 21:35
  • @Kevin Okay future me check it out and see what you think now. Feb 21, 2013 at 21:50

Nobody seemed to care much if the next hit was themselves since Loopers were specifically selected to be thoughtless, partying goons. It never struck me as if they gave much thought to their future selves before they had to close their loops. Which was also part of Joe's character arc; his self-destructive and meaningless life gave rise to the conflict with old Joe, who had found a meaning with his life and wanted to protect it, and young Joe who began finding it with Sara and Cid. The Loopers are aimless and self-destructive, that was their thematic and plotwise trait.

  • We know that Joe has been keeping two of the four bars of silver that each hit makes. We see his store room so he's had a lot of hits. Plus the handler mentions he's been with them a while. The city they are in is mentioned as a backwater city. So Joe isn't a top Looper if such a thing exist, he's average. You are right though Loopers do seem to be selected because they don't have an issue with it. Feb 21, 2013 at 21:33
  • @KevinHowell Yeah, you're right, I didn't remember Joe had so many bars stashed away. That does suggest he's been at it for a while. I'll remove that part from the answer.
    – jono
    Feb 21, 2013 at 21:40

Doesn't seem very efficient. They'd have to go through all the hassle of recruiting and training the looper, only to use them once before killing them.

  • 6
    Closing the loop doesn't kill the recruit though. Feb 21, 2013 at 11:56
  • As the above comment and other answers already say, closing the loop means you kill your future-self from 30 years later, so it's not inefficient at all.
    – Sentry
    Feb 21, 2013 at 15:51

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