Predestination is based on Robert A. Heinlein’s “All You Zombies” about a time traveling agent who is on the trail of the ‘Fizzle Bomber’ who has killed thousands of people with his various terrorist bombings. As a result, a simple man (Ethan Hawke) known as a Temporal Agent or masquerading as barkeep is the only man trying to stop a madman from more senseless carnage. That is only one part of the plot for the Spierig Brothers interesting film, Predestination. The second part of the plot for this 2014 film involves a Gattaca-like (another double identity science fiction film starring Hawke) story involving a young girl named Jane (Sarah Snook) who may or may not be associated with the Fizzle Bomber, as well. This is a busy film with a lot of plot spinning around you, but most of it does work.
I won’t divulge anymore of the plot, suffice to say this is an intriguing film, if somewhat too intent on being clever, as it almost trips over itself towards the last act. Still Hawke, who is taking more difficult parts in smaller, more independent films, is very solid as our hero, the Temporal Agent. But the real star making performance is from relative newcomer, Sarah Snook, an Australian actress who steals the show. I won’t reveal what she is or does but her performance is nothing short of tremendous. It is because of her and Hawke’s symmetry on screen that sells the plot. Noah Taylor also supplies a good supporting performance as Mr. Anderson, another Temporal Agent who also happens to be Hawke’s boss. Taylor provides enough edge to suggest he may or may not be involved with the Fizzle Bomber and that helps the mystery angle of Predestination.
This film was shot in 2014 but had a hard time finding distribution until Sony and Stage 6 picked it up in 2015. It had a limited release and now has made its way to DVD and On Demand. This is a neat film; cleverly intricate and intelligent with understated but eye popping visuals that don’t overwhelm the story or its characters. The Spierig Brothers, Michael and Peter, who worked with Hawke in 2009’s Daybreakers (an okay vampire film), have only three major releases but seem to be carving out the sci-fi/horror genre all for themselves. The film does hop around a bit too much towards the final act and you will have to pay close attention in this time frame to keep up with who is who and how they relate to the story, but the acting is superb and kept me intrigued. Pete Spierig’s score is first rate as it blends electronic and symphonic elements that fit the science fiction elements as well as the human story.
Predestination is not a perfect film. It is not a great film, even. But what it does well is to be a fascinating B title film that has solid acting, good writing, direction and score. It knows what it wants to do and on this level, Predestination works and surprisingly well. I was involved with these characters and interested in their stories. I was particularly taken with Sarah Snook and her character. On that level alone, I would watch this film again. The Spierig Brothers are ones to watch in the coming future.
Predestination- ***1/2 out of 5
Predestination- Rated R for language, violence and adult situtations
Predestination- Run Time is 97 minutes
This film is now available on DVD, On Demand and digital download