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Predestination - Film Review

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by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events.
Published August 24th 2014
Don't let reason get in the way of a good story or idea

If I was to draw the proverbial line in the sand and direct viewers of the Spierig Brothers' latest movie Predestination to stand either side according to how they would rate this movie, you would see gatherings on both sides. Some will declare Predestination as exhilarating, entertaining, profoundly thoughtful, deserves cult status, while on the opposing side they will simply tell you "I just don't get it, or it doesn't make sense to me."

When I joined five other critics in the foyer afterwards the general feeling was one of confusion. You will see as we did, that you need to suspend your beliefs regarding time travel, because the story requires you to believe the characters can confront themselves not only in the past, but in the future and that you can change history. In short, you need to suspend your critic to make any progress with this movie as it does seem to contradict time travel guidelines. If you are unable to suspend what you know and speculate on what could be, you will struggle with this movie. However, despite the confusion, I still found Predestination entertaining and it certainly has captured my interest, because I want to see it again.

Predestination is from the Australian directing team Michael and Peter Spierig who created the vampire-genre movies Undead in 2003, followed by Daybreakers in 2010. It is based on the classic science fiction short story All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein.

What certainly helps grab your attention and interest is the high standard of the performances from the entire cast. The lead actor, Ethan Hawke is marvellous as the 'Bartender", a violin case-toting time traveller who is a "Temporal Agent" who travels through different time zones from 1945 to 1993 tracking down criminals, preventing disasters from occurring and saves lives by changing history. Co-star, Australian actress, Sarah Snook as the "Unmarried Mother"gives a powerful performance and is gripping from the beginning to end. If you are wondering who she is, Snook won Best Actress FCCA Award for the movie Not Suitable For Children 2012 and Best Lead Actress for the TV drama Sisters of War 2010.

The complex narrative has two story-lines, one is the "Temporal Agent" on his final assignment pursuing a terrorist called the "Fizzle Bomber". In an engaging twist in the story we learn about "The Unmarried Mother's" tragic life in an orphanage and this is where Snook will hold your attention. As her story unfolds and the suspense builds into a captivating mystery, she will take you along with her, and you'll be wondering what is her connection with what's happening and where is it all heading? Look out for Sarah Snook, we are bound to see more outstanding performances from her.

The few flaws in the story's structure will either leave you confused, or it will challenge and engage you in energetic thought-provoking discussions, and most likely coming back to watch it again for more answers.

*** 1/2 out of *****

P.S. Predestination has intrigued me enough to seek out a copy of "All You Zombies". While I am waiting delivery, I am reading one of Robert A. Heinlein's novels Double Star, which I am enjoying and recommend.

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Why? Thought provoking science fiction thriller with great acting performances. Warning: The plot will baffle some viewers.
When: Commences 28 August 2014
Phone: 08 8232 3434
Where: Palace Cinemas Rundle Street, East End, Adelaide
Cost: Check with cinema.
Your Comment
Better than an Australian, Sarah is an Adelaidean and has appeared in a number of State Theatre productions. The film also stars Noah Taylor and was filmed in Melbourne.
by karen (score: 0|7) 2960 days ago
This was a very mind bending movie! Here's a neat timeline to help unbend and understand the movie:
by diges (score: 0|2) 2853 days ago

HOROUGHLY entertaining movie. However, there is one slight / major flaw. Time travel, according to the Spierig brothers, was discovered /created in 1981. The "girl" was born in 1945.

So the first question is, who travelled back in time first?

It is impossible for the main character(s) to exist... At any point... Ever.

Besides that tiny flaw, not a bad watch.
by james (score: 0|2) 2822 days ago
not really. that's the typical loop paradox that you just have to accept with time travel (i.e. how was she born the very first time).

The real flaw is that she would have realized that the man she fell in love with was really himself, once he had fully transformed and then looked in the mirror.
by q (score: 0|2) 2771 days ago
I just love thrilling science fiction movies and predestination is one of my favorite. Here's breaking down of the climax in detail:
by samne (score: 0|2) 1305 days ago
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