Predestination

Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

“Predestination” (2014)

A Temporal Agent known as the Bartender (Ethan Hawke) is a time-travel crime fighter that works for a mysterious agency that tries to stop crimes from happening in the past. The Bartender is near the end of his run as an agent, having been described as the best agent who has ever worked. His one failure is he has never stopped the “Fizzle Bomber,” a terrorist who sets off bombs in populated areas.
On one of his trips, he takes up his post at a rundown bar in a big city. He meets a young man who if he is rewarded, will tell the Bartender a story that will shock and amaze him. It turns out that the man was at one time a woman and now makes a living writing under the name of the Unmarried Mother (Sarah Snook). The Unmarried Mother then weaves a story that would normally shock the hardest of the unimpressed. However, the Bartender has a few shocking things up his sleeve and asks the Unmarried Mother if she is ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

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Based on a Robert A. Heinlein short story (“All You Zombies”), this impressive and fantastical film is a film full of surprises, reveals and a few twists and turns you will never see coming. It’s a sci-fi film that focuses more on the characters and the story than the sci-fi elements, making it a film that has a lot of heart and substance.

Predestination

Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

The film is written and directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, known as the Spierig Brothers. They bring to the screen a story filled with substance. It’s a complex world that they have created, and at times it can be confusing, with the story containing interwoven parts that move in and around with almost a free flow feeling. There are some action sequences that move quickly and effortlessly, while never quite revealing all the details that could help you solve the mysteries of the film.

The film has a timeless feel to it, set perpetually in the late sixties or early seventies, but never quite totally surrendering to the time period. Cinematographer Ben Nott gives the film a contemporary look to the scenery while still keeping a slightly smoky look that would be more at home in a film noir detective film. I especially enjoyed the production design by Matthew Putland, giving the film a bright modern look that at the same time looks incredibly dated.

Predestination

Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

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Ethan Hawke is brilliant in the role of the world-weary Bartender, who just wants one last chance to hunt down the terrorist and go out on top. He is able to show us a man who has probably been an agent far too long and is near the end of his rope. He works well on screen with Noah Taylor, who plays Mr. Robertson, his boss, and confidant. They have a rapport that comes across as two people who have been working together for a long time and know how to read each other’s moods and thought. It’s the chemistry that Hawke has with newcomer Sarah Snook that makes this film work so well. They play off each other with a grace that makes their conversations just flow. Snook has an energy that perfectly plays off Hawke’s more laid-back style. This is especially evident when her character gets agitated or excited, she almost bounces off the walls at times. Snook’s character, the unmarried mother, is a multi-faceted role that she plays with ease.

Predestination

Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, though I must admit I didn’t always know what was exactly going on. I think what I liked the most about this film was that it never felt it had to explain everything that we, the audience could eventually figure things out. It’s a special film that will only get better with repeated viewings, and it’s a film that has a heart and soul to it, something you don’t always see in the world of sci-fi.  My Rating: Full Price

My movie rating system from Best to Worst:  1). I Would Pay to See it Again  2). Full Price  3). Bargain Matinee  4). Cable  5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again

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The film is playing in Atlanta exclusively at the Plaza Theatre

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