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Predestination

Predestination

By Jonahh Oestreich • July 21st, 2016
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
PREDESTINAION
Signature Entertainment

Release date (UK): February 20th, viagra generic 2015
Running time: 97 minutes
Certificate (UK): 15

Written and directed by the Spierig Brothers

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor

Predestination

Robert A. Heinlein’s All You Zombies– (1959) belongs to my early science fiction experiences. I was intrigued by the short story with its bizarre and – until today – unique timetravel plot. I won’t go into too much detail here since the story is the epitome of timetravel paradoxes and therefore spoiler-prone.

The brothers Peter and Michael Spierig adapted Heinlein’s classic for a movie that’s just as mind-bending and absorbing as its literary blueprint. The story follows a temporal agent who, after a career of timetravelling and crime-preventing missions, is on his final assignment. He’s to catch a notorious bomber that’s escaped him throughout time.

The plot, like most timetravel stories, follows the arrow-of-time assumption meaning past, present and future are linked and changes in the past directly affect the future, just like in Back to the Future or Looper. However, Predestination’s story takes the linear approach to timetravel to extremes. This way, the film not only tells about fate and identity but turns the timetravel genre itself upside down.

At its core, Predestination explores the abundance and infinite complexities of a character. The possibilities are endless, as it were, especially if you can travel back Predestinationand forth in time often enough. Mind you though, it’s not about correcting past ‘mistakes’. The Spierig Brothers didn’t fall into the trap of timelooping through the same life.

Instead, the exposition is lengthy yet compelling. We meet a bartender (the temporal agent hoping to find the killer) and a writer with the pseudonym “The Unmarried Mother” who sells confession stories. The guy promises our bartender “the best story that you ever heard”. At the end of that story we’re set up for the mad twists and turns that follow.

Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook deliver striking performances. Snook’s play in particular convinces with a wealth of nuances. There’s always a hint of wickedness in her expression which adds to the mystery the film keeps alive until its last moments. In the end, you just might ask – and answer – the question of cause-and-effect differently.

Even love seems to mean something different in Predestination. A more or less conventional romance on the surface, the story and the relationship of the lovers is Predestinationjust as strange as the entire tale. Let’s put it this way, in fiction anything is possible but some things are only possible in timetravel fiction. Your mind will reel for sure as the main character of the story, apparently, attempts to create eternity, somehow.

This is also one of the points where the film requires literally undivided attention. Miss a bit and the whole thing doesn’t really make sense anymore, or loses impact. Predestination’s plot is tightly knit and there’s virtually no redundancy. One might argue the movie could have done with a little more air to breathe but then again the story would likely break without its fine-tuned pace.

Obviously, there are the deep questions typically raised by timetravel tales like Predestination such as are there really always consequences, or does the future really change if you temper with the past? Those questions though are dealt with rather subtly, there’s no grand timetravel philosophy – with one (somewhat unfortunate) exception towards the end of the film.

Predestination is arguably one of the best timetravel movies in recent years, the more so as it doesn’t rely on heavy special effects or overblown action. A smart thriller I wish I could watch twice the same way – which is impossible even if I could travel in time…

Jonahh Oestreich

Jonahh Oestreich

One of the Editors in Chief and our webmaster, Jonahh is a photographer and journalist who has been working in the media industry for over 15 years, mainly in television, design and art. As a boy, he made his first short film with an 8mm camera and the help of his father. His obsession with (moving) images and stories hasn’t faded since.

His passion for intricate stories and the ‘seven basic plots’ (ask him!) often times makes his friends and family put him in the doghouse for "predicting" too many twists and endings.

You can follow Jonahh on Twitter @Resonance_Zero.

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