Thursday, 11 September 2014

Predestination: Movie Review

Predestination: Movie Review

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor
Director: The Spierig Brothers

The time travel genre gets an incredibly smart, reasonably complex if-you-don't-look-at-it-too-closely entry with The Spierig Brothers' latest cinematic foray, based on 1959 short story "All You Zombies".

Ethan Hawke stars as a time-hopping agent of a mysteriously shadowy organisation out to stop a bomber known as the Fizzle Bomber, who caused chaos in 1975 New York, killing around 10, 000. Pursuing a lead back in time, Hawke's character ends up working as a Bartender and meets Sarah Snook's Unmarried Mother who begins to relate a tale to him.

And to say any more about the plot of Predestination would be to ruin one of the best time travel films of the year.

As the layers of this deeply plotted onion peel back, there's plenty of cleverly woven threads sown deep in to the narrative as The Spierig Brothers unleash a mind-bendingly complex story that hits an emotional resonance as well as showing an incredible inventiveness.

In Daybreakers, The Spierig Brothers demonstrated they could do low budget without compromising the style; and certainly this time around, they've ramped up the stylishness of the piece without jeopardising any of the budget. The time travel FX are minimal but work to maximum effect and one sequence set within a Space Corp echoes 2001: A Space Odyssey down to a trippy tee.

But Predestination is about more than time travel (and a subtle nod to an infamous Red Dwarf episode); at its intricate core, it's about emotional performances - and the two leads in particular. 

Hawke is assured as the time-travelling agent and manages to imbue his agent with a world weariness and inevitability as the paradoxes of the situation begin to unfold, but it's his co-star, Aussie actress Sarah Snook who delivers a star-making turn as the Unmarried Mother. 

As the story unfolds, she's a towering and commanding presence from go to woah, for reasons that are hard to elaborate on without destroying some of the best reveals of the film. Needless to say, nuanced and subtle are the key points here as the head-scratching mysteries start to trouble your cerebellum.

While there are a couple of sing-posting moments could have been excised (one moment in the bar serves only to ram the plot down your throat in a crowd-pandering way), most of Predestination impresses because of the story-telling, even if parts of the logic begin to fall away when closely scrutinised. 

Overall, Predestination is a mind-bending twister of a sci-fi story, a belter that's steeped in sadness, story-telling and subtlety; destined for multiple viewings and discussion, this latest from The Spierig Brothers confirms them as masters of genre-making - and is a welcome addition to the pantheon of cinematic time-twisters and the sci-fi genre as a whole.


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