Predestination (2014) – By Kirsten Walsh

Predestination chronicles the life of a Temporal Agent sent on an intricate series of time-travel journeys designed to ensure the continuation of his law enforcement career for all eternity. Now, on his final assignment, the Agent must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.

Time travel movies are a tricky beast. Whereas some really succeed at simplifying the science behind it- “Back to the Future”, “Timestoppers”- some just really suck. Ethan Hawke’s latest venture, based loosely on a Robert Heinlein (“Starship Troopers”) short story, gets it. The audience is completely sucked in, and with all of the twists and turns, the whole film must be watched to capture the nuances. Somewhat similar to “Looper” with the concept of time travel and assassinations, it is really in the acting that sets this movie apart.

Sarah Snook (“Jessabelle”) makes a total splash as “The Unmarried Mother”, a co-star alongside Hawk. As Hawk travels back in time to chase a bomber, he seemingly happens to be in a bar with Snook, and the film veers from what was portrayed in the trailer.

The cinematic world has echoed a love- hate relationship with Hawke since his scandalous days in the tabloids. However, with his recent voyage into horror- “The Purge” and “Sinister”- he has sparked a new audience, one that is not disappointed with “Predestination”. He relives his glory days in this film, harkening back to his intense demeanor from “Gattaca”, pressing through the unraveling emotional story. The direction given by the Spierig Brothers showcase a strong vision through the actors, one that carries the film.

From a filmmaking standpoint, this film calls to mind non-linear structures such as “Memento” and “Looper”, which keep the audience guessing. The twists and turns are very unpredictable as more information is revealed and Hawke’s character narrates the audience along. Subtleties within the film are the key, giving away just enough of the secrets of the film to keep the viewer interested. There are a few plot holes in the film that are not cleaned up like the rest of it, which can be somewhat frustrating. Similar to the aforementioned movies, this is not a film for the faint of heart or mind. The subject matter is definitely controversial, but the talent outshines it.

Many people would recognize the Spierig Brothers from Hawke’s vampire film, “Daybreakers”. They definitely refined their vision with “Predestination” and continue to showcase why they are consistently pulling large name actors into their projects. They are definitely a filmmaking team to keep an eye on.

Would I watch this film again? Definitely. This is one of those films that every time you watch it, you discover more and more that the filmmakers snuck in for the story. Check out the film, set for a January 2015 limited theatrical release and available on DVD and blu-ray in select places.

Predestination on IMDb: