A mind-bending time-travel story that entertains and intrigues throughout while showcasing an excellent performance from Snook.
A time-traveling Temporal Agent on his last assignment pursues a mass bomber who has eluded him for years by always being a step ahead, and it will be up to this agent to stop him before he kills more innocent people.
Time-travel movies have been one of the longest lasting genres in film. While some captivate the mind and result in quality adventures, many on the other hand turn out to be twisted up story-lines that are hard, if not impossible to follow, and fail to connect with the viewer. The most assured thing about time-travel films is they will make you think, the only question is whether or not the time spent thinking about the plot will be worth it. The problem is many of these scripts often lack cohesiveness and in the end leave many plot holes left open or make so logical sense.
There is no doubt “Predestination” will make you think, and in my opinion the story was without question worth the time wrapping your head around the focal plot of it all. The story opens itself as a relatively straight forward premise about an agent traveling through time to try and catch a mass bomber before he can strike again. The early first-act pulled my attention in quickly before the direction of focus went off into a detailed story of a young man who was once a woman and the trials of his life leading up to the night he tells his story to a weathered bartender.
The depth of the story told by this character was incredibly compelling and despite it consuming most of the second-act I was still hanging on every word while this character pours out intimate details of a life filled with anguish. There were moments in the second-act that felt like a time-period drama and my attention was lured in the entire time. There were times I wondered what this had to do with the story and much to my enjoyment I would learn it had everything to do with the main plot.
Without giving spoilers away I will keep from going into detail about the story, but to keep it simple, if you like something to wrap your head around in the time-travel genre then you will love this film, its premise and its creative ambition in story telling. This focus on a detailed script were what made this a great time-travel film without the need for much action or special-effects. Often the story-line in genre flicks like this seem messy and unorganized to the point of it feeling either rushed, or the result of an idea not fully fleshed out. In this one the direction of the story was never out of focus and there was a clear feeling that the plot was very well developed to make as sensible a movie as possible.
The cast performances were excellent and despite Ethan Hawke leading the bill, the true star was without a doubt Sarah Snook. Her performance was exceptional and is what made this story-line work as effectively as it did. Her ability to split her personality to play duel roles, let alone of opposite genders, was something to behold and it is unfortunate she will probably not get the recognition she deserves for her skills displayed in this role. She creates two completely different characters yet you can feel the connection of the personalities between them, as well as sympathy for their life’s struggles, yet different reasons for each persona. The writing and her performance are what make this one a perfect recipe for intrigue.
Ethan Hawke was also very good in this one and there is no denying he gave this film a strong performance although his character was a rather simple one. With the creative story written by the Spierig Brothers based on the short story ‘All You Zombies’ by Robert A. Heinlein, and the demand of the role played by Snook, Hawke was not needed to steal the show but to maintain a strong likable character. For that aspect he served his place and with Snook giving such a intriguing performance, it was enjoyable to sit back and watch their onscreen chemistry together, something that would later go on to build plausibility in the third-act.
The film looked great as well, the settings, wardrobes and make-up all looked the part of the time-period the script went to. For the most part the story-line was surprisingly easy to follow. Although I will be honest in saying I had to watch the last thirty-minutes, three times to fully wrap my head around the twist. For the most part I thought I got it the first time but the two following times I watched the third-act I was able to pull more out of the material to get the most out of the well-crafted climax.
In the end “Predestination” was a highly entertaining time-travel flick that was interesting and filled with some great character performances. The finale may seem complex but after watching the third-act reveal a few times I think I was able to fill in enough of the pieces to at least give myself a confident explanation to understand the final twist. The Spierig’s are continuing to prove themselves in Hollywood by delivering some imaginative films. Their ambition and creativity taken into creating this film is worth the praise, and if you have not seen this one, give it a chance and let it grab your attention.
– Starring –
Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor
– Directed By –
Michael & Peter Spierig
Time: 97 min
MPAA Rating: R (Violence, some sexuality, nudity and language)