predestination-600x870What’s it all about?

Well, if you believe our chums at IMDb then Predestination is all about:

the life of a time-traveling Temporal Agent. On his final assignment, he must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.

But it’s so much more complicated than that.

So. Complicated.

Why did I want to watch it?

Several people whose judgement I trust had given positive feedback on this movie so for that reason it was worth a try. I also love time travel stuff (most of the time anyway, there are some exceptions). And I seem to be developing a bit of a soft spot for Ethan Hawke after many years of nothing but indifference.

What did I think of it?

As I said before, this is complicated. But *takes deep breath* Ethan is a sort of temporal secret agent hitman guy who has been pursuing this particular criminal, the Fizzle Bomber, over a number of time jumps and has nearly caught him but not quite. It’s not always clear why the FB has to be stopped other than that they are a Bad Person who kills loads of other people, and it seems to be as much a personal obsession as it is a crime to be solved for the good of all.

Anyway, Ethan is in 1970 New York working in a bar when this guy walks in and they get to talking and the guy (John) starts to tell his story, which takes up most of the remainder of the film, and his experiences are ultimately tied up with what Ethan is up to; to cut a long story short, John is a trans person who, when a woman, had a bad experience with an unidentified (to us) bloke and Ethan takes him back to give him the opportunity to bump him off, while he hunts the FB.

And then it gets really complicated.

It’s a very interesting film which deals with the paradoxes that can be thrown up by time travel, but doesn’t solve them for the audience; rather, it implies that at many of the characters are caught in a temporal feedback loop, destined to revisit events over and over again. Which doesn’t help anyone, frankly.

I really liked the feel of the film, very noir with lots of hats and coats and a time machine that’s basically gubbins in a violin case. The cast is really good; Ethan is very enigmatic but tortured, and Sarah Snook, who plays Jane/John is really excellent and convincing. The film was directed by the Spierig Brothers who also directed Daybreakers (which I watched recently and reviewed here) and like that film Predestination almost works – but not quite.

It’s a puzzle movie with a big idea that becomes so all-encompassing that the narrative loses its way a bit. But it is nothing less than interesting and certainly had the Book God and I discussing it for some time after it finished, and that’s no bad thing.