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Predestination (Review)

"An absolute must-see for fans of the genre"

by Nav Qateel

A Temporal Agent (Hawke) is chasing after a bomber because the bomber is responsible for killing many thousands of innocent civilians. Using his violin-case-shaped time-travel device to visit multiple destinations, and also enlisting the help of a younger man, the agent has a final chance to put an end to the bomber's campaign of death.

Writing a short premise for this type of mind-bending sci-thriller, yet still do justice to the film, is no easy task. As one would expect with a film of this nature, there are quite a few twists, turns, double-backs and red herrings that can't be spoken of in any great detail for fear of inadvertently giving too much away and veering into spoiler territory. I'll keep the review as short and as vague as possible.

Directed by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig, better known as The Spierig Brothers, Predestination begins with a Temporal Agent trying to disarm a bomb in 1970's New York. Because of the bomber taking pot-shots at the Temporal Agent, the bomb detonates before it's made safe. The explosion burns the agent's face right off, resulting in him receiving a successful face transplant.

Predestination
Directed by Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig
Cast Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor
Release Date 9 January 2015
Nav's Grade: A

Fully recovered from his injuries, the agent has taken on the role of a bartender. He's working in the bar in order to meet the person who can help him stop the bomber, and this is when we meet the mouthy "The Unmarried Mother" (Sarah Snook). Snook does a remarkable job here as she transitions from a young woman, into a tough-talking man. Thanks in part to the multiple decades-old setting, and Snook's wonderful performance, the Unmarried Mother's backstory felt much like that of Brad Pitt's Benjamin Button.

Predestination may have headlined Ethan Hawke, but the clear star of the film was Sarah Snook, followed by the script, followed by Hawke. That's not to say Ethan Hawke was any less great than usual, only that Snook was so fantastic in her role playing both sexes. This is now the Spierig's third feature and the second with Hawke taking point. Richard Linklater also likes using Hawke, which surely says something good about the actor. Noah Taylor played the mysterious Mr. Robertson, the man who always appears to be somewhere in background pulling strings.

Good time-travel films are notoriously hard to follow, requiring total concentration from the viewer. While Predestination is tricky to keep up with in places, the reward for paying close attention is huge. Brilliant performances, a well-written script and a great score driving things along. An absolute must-see for fans of the genre.

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