I think we all know that the first few months of every year sees nothing but duds for movies. Why no one takes advantage of this and puts out a decent film around this time (at least for the cash grab if for nothing else) is beyond my comprehension. Instead of paying for a film that makes me and my wallet sad, I figured I’d take the advice and offer from a friend and see a foreign film for a change. I don’t see a lot of them, but this one seemed right up my alley as I like sci-fi and I enjoy it even more with a little mystery and thrill mixed in. Enter Predestination; an Austrailian film written and directed by Michael and Peter Spierig (Daybreakers). It is definitely a different movie but one that will set the bar for the rest of the year in movies for me.
Predestination stars Ethan Hawke (in what seems like his millionth movie role) as a time travel agent on his final mission to stop a criminal from committing a terrorist attack in 1975 New York that involves the deaths of hundreds. He tries to do so by following clues gathered through numerous failed attempts to catch the bomber. As the clues begin to unravel, the situation takes an unexpected (but a familiar) turn.
Now where do I start with this movie. It really is hard to because this movie is simply made with such an original take on so many different things such as time travel and sci-fi along with mystery. Not only that but The cast is very small with the majority of the time being afforded to Ethan Hawke’s character who spends the majority of his time as undercover as a barkeeper and actress Sarah Snook who plays a pivotal role (really the most important role) as well. Because of this the movie has to do a good job of making the plot move without becoming stale and it definitely does that. I think Ethan Hawke has carved a real niche for himself in movies like this as he seems to take them quite often and look comfortable doing them Both actors (especially Sarah) did a great job of carrying the film and do real justice to their interactions on-screen. There are so many moving parts but because the characters are so far and few, it was condensed making the movie easier to follow.
The movie really does have layers. Following the movie through the unraveling of the mystery of the Fizzle bomber (yes that name is stupid and the movie admits it) is the best part of the movie and the whole reason to watch. The deeper you get into the movie the, more you realize that what you thought you knew well… isn’t what you thought you knew (as crazy as that sentence sounds, it is the truth). Now it does have it’s share of dialogue to begin with but it is far from mundane and is actually quite charming because it’s a moment with two individuals and is much more of a setup for what is to come. Once the plot truly sets in motion, that is where you’re trying to remember what you picked up on in the first half to figure out what is gonna happen. However, what sets this movie apart from others is that you can only figure out so much before something else hits you to change almost everything you thought before. I know it may sound like the movie is too complex but it really isn’t.
Verdict: The intricacies of the plot are served well by the smooth pace of the movie. It turns elements of sci-fi, mystery, and drama on its head by using them in a more conscious and conservative way. Many of times these are elements that drive a film and it tends to hover over it with that pressure to deliver. This film sizes all of those elements down and creates a balance between them for a more considerate and enjoyable experience. It is quite the ride without being a blockbuster and there’s not a lot of SFX nor does it need it. The revelations that come as the movie progresses will have you intrigued and on edge right up until it all comes together for you. Whenever that is for you depends on how well you follow the clues and how much you remember. All together, it is really a movie that comes at a time where there’s not a lot out there (as this is normally a dead season for movies) and this one manages holds its own. Because it is a foreign film it has already had its domestic release as well as other places well before so it is only a limited release, but you can find and purchase it on-line. It could be considered a hit or miss, but I will speak for myself and say that it really was a hit with me.
Predestination gets a 4 out of 5
+ Original take on sci-fi and thriller styles of film
+ Condensed and intimate script with great pacing
+ Real depth in the plot keeping the film entertaining from beginning to end
+ Good work from both Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook
You can find Predestination already for sale on amazon or you can see it now in select theaters
Stephon W. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and sorry, he doesn’t do social media. But you can follow the team on facebook (Teh Lunchbox Publications), and on twitter @tehlunchboxpub.