– by Linda Tran
“What if I could put him in front of you? The man that ruined your life. If I could guarantee you would get away with it… Would you kill him?”
Predestination is an Australian science fiction film, directed and written by The Spierig Brothers (Michael and Peter), and stars Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook and Noah Taylor. Based on the short story ‘All You Zombies’ by Robert A. Heinlein, it tells the story of a time-traveling Temporal Agent (someone who travels back and forth through time altering history and preventing man-made disasters from happening) on his final assignment, chasing after a mass-murderer who has eluded him throughout his career.
Ethan Hawke (Gattaca, Daybreakers) delivers a strong performance in his second collaboration with The Spierig Brothers. His character in this film is deep and dramatic; which is used to draw the audience in at the start, as well as delivering the jaw-dropping twist ending.
After the film establishes the basic plot, guidelines and time travel rules, it is entrusted over to Sarah Snook (Packed To The Rafters, Not Suitable For Children) who gives a phenomenal performance – whether it was re-telling her character’s life story to Hawke as part of their bar banter, or portraying her younger self in flashbacks. Her character is highly unusual and has gone through some intense life lessons, which has ultimately made her become a different person. Her younger and adult selves exist as completely different characters, yet Snook shows a subtle similarity between the two, tying them together despite being worlds apart. Her performance gave believability to the character’s life story, with her strong performance delivering emotions of loss, hope, love and disappointment.
Set between the 1940s and 1970s, the film is a mixture of futuristic science fiction technology (or how the 1960s saw ‘futuristic’) and the 1970s style all wrapped up into one look. The mixture gives both a messy action feel, as well as being reminiscent of the decades past.
The Spierig Brothers have taken a complicated time-travel short story and made a creative piece with it. Having only previously directed Daybreakers and Undead, they are relatively “new”; nevertheless they do have an amazing eye for science-fiction and story telling. Laced in to this sci-fi art piece are also themes of self-identity, self-esteem, life purposes, acceptance, and the human drive to try and change the inevitable.
This film is one of those “you’ll either love or hate it” kind of films – depending on where you stand with time travel, open/closed endings, The Spierig Brothers, or science fiction in general. If you do decide to go see it, the only advice I have is “prepare your mind.” After all, it is about time travel, so there are several plot twists and plenty of moments where you need to take a moment to wrap your head around what’s happening.