That Looper Phone

I am always deeply fascinated by tech products shown in movies set in the future.


Here we can see Joseph Gordon Levitt’s cell phone in Looper as he is receiving a call. Someone designed this hardware and software specifically for this movie. What does it tell us?


This isn’t the only recent movie to use a transparent cell phone screen. We also see one in Hugh Jackman’s phone in Reel Steel. What is the advantage? This forces all of the circuitry into the bezel. Good luck with that, Ive.


  • Battery: It’s full even late at night. Did JGL charge recently? Does it take weeks for the battery to drain?
  • Signal strength: 3 full circles (assuming this is the purpose of the icon in the upper right corner).
  • Phone: This is obvious since JGL is receiving a call.
  • Globe + Map: The map seems unnecessary considering we do not see where the call is originating from. Why show a map at all?
  • Progress bar: Above the four bottom icons we see a progress bar. It looks like JGL is on screen three out of four. Perhaps we are still swiping between sets of icons.
  • Gear: We are still using a gear to represent settings in the future.
  • Chat bubble: We are still texting too. :-)
  • Flux Capacitor & Pixelated Arrow: Your guess is as good as mine.


The phone’s shape is almost a perfect square. This tells us that in the future people either don’t watch videos on their phones, or the video format somehow returned to 4:3.


I believe it’s safe to assume that a red X means “do not answer.” A green OK is inconsistent. Why not show a green checkmark instead?


I do not see any physical buttons. It must be entirely controlled by software.


I do not see any holes for noise to escape. How does JGL hear the caller’s voice? How does the phone ring? Note: It’s funny to use the word “ring” considering phones do not truly ring anymore.


The phone is too thin to plug in any cables. It must charge through induction (or wirelessly!).


JGL immediately smashes the phone with a rock after this close-up. I guess Gorilla Glass X isn’t indestructible.


Yes, I really enjoy these explorations.