Predestination Movie Review

Vertical Entertainment

Reviewed for Shockya by Tami Smith, Guest Reviewer

Directed by: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig

Screenplay by: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig, based on a short story “All you Zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sara Snook, Noah Taylor

Release Date: January 9, 2015

Readers you have been warned: do not try to make a logical sense of Predestination, especially not after the first viewing. If you hope to understand it by reading the short story “All You Zombies” by Robert Heinlein, upon which the screen play is based, you may not have a better luck.

Predestination is the story of Temporal Agent (Ethan Hawke) who works at The Bureau, a C.I.A. type of an organization, under the supervision of Mr. Robertson (Noah Taylor). His job is to prevent crimes and eliminate criminals before they commit greater crimes. To facilitate his job he is given a violin carriers, which is equipped with time-travel mode. He also moonlights as a bartender. A young man, named John/Jane/Unmarried Mother (Sarah Snook), with some gender issues drops by the bar one evening and tells Temporal Agent his life story. Unmarried Mother had a complicated life starting at a Cleveland orphanage as a young baby girl, impregnated and abandoned by a man as a young girl, and having a sex-change operation later on. Now twenty-five years old and confused John is recruited by Temporal Agent to work at The Bureau. Mr. Robertson says that if Temporal Agent should reach the “final destination” his mission will be complete.

Ethan Hawke plays Temporal Agent in a hesitant manner. Staring at us directly he seems to be asking: “What am I doing here? Are you sure?” Sarah Snook is an unknown film actress from South Australia. As John/Jane she works miracles with such a convoluted plot and convinces us that she is a young girl on the edge of womanhood. Her portrayal of John after a sex-change operation is slightly forced. Noah Taylor gives Mr. Robertson a mysterious appeal reciting his lines in British stiff-upper-lip.

Directors Michael and Peter Spierig keep a relaxed tempo in the first half of the film, thus allowing us to make sense of this story. The bar scene in the first half of Predestination was shot in brown and yellow earth tone colors to reflect the 1970s era. The 1985 scenes were shot in blue, white and grey to present the unknown future. Filmed in Docklands Studios in Melbourne, Australia this science fiction drama was shot in six weeks and had a global premier at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX on March 2014.

Rated: R. 97 minutes Tami Smith, Guest Reviewer

Story: C
Acting: B-
Technical: B+
Overall: B

By Harvey Karten

Harvey Karten is the founder of the The New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) an organization composed of Internet film critics based in New York City. The group meets once a year, in December, for voting on its annual NYFCO Awards.

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