A cool concept. So a guy walks into a bar (Sarah Snook (not a typo, she’s playing a man (sort of))), and he strikes up a conversation with the bartender (Ethan Hawke). The stranger volunteers the wildest story he’s got, but there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes, as this is actually a science fiction story. You could have probably figured that out from the title, because with a title like Predestination, you would likely guess that this is a story involving time travel (it is). The neat thing about this is that the science fiction element really doesn’t come into play until the halfway mark, and almost the entire setup is grounded and keeps a foot in the realm of plausibility. Much like many movies that involve time travel, if you really give time and effort to dwell upon the paradox of it all, the story will start to fall apart, but this has a very good framework to the story, and it moves fast enough to keep you from nitpicking the movie to pieces.
Is that a man, or just Switch from The Matrix?
This is directed by the Spierig Brothers, and I’ve liked what I’ve seen from them so far; I missed their debut film, Undead, but I’ve heard good things, and enjoyed them doing more with less with Daybreakers. It’s not like they have unlimited resources here, and you can tell that they are very good at keeping their movies from going over budget. For example, you don’t need a fancy, extravagant prop to denote “time-travel device”, you can get by with something simple, like the magic brain boxes from Inception.
You can say “future” simply by shading a regular room a more unconventional color.
I know that Ethan Hawke is headlining this, but it’s really Snook’s movie. She brings a lot to this role, and she plays multiple genders within the same story, and does so convincingly, which is not something you get to see happen in film terribly often. It’s a little weird and creepy to see, but she pulls it off, and I’m curious to see where her career goes from here. Predestination boasts a really well-written screenplay that is full of twists and turns. It’s got a lot of good stuff going on for it, and if you like science-fiction as much as I do, you should check this out.
Predestination (2014) ***1/2
– Critic for Hire