Sunday, January 11, 2015

Review: Predestination

Image courtesy of Stage 6 Films.
Michael and Peter Spierig's "Predestination" is the type of film for which someone created the word mind-bender. And it's a good one, even though you might find yourself struggling to completely connect the dots and put all the puzzle pieces together to explain away the picture's labyrinthine story once the film's various plot twists have all been revealed.

Based upon Robert Heinlein's story "All You Zombies," the film is a thriller involving time travel and an agent (Ethan Hawke) who is tracking down a terrorist known as the Fizzle Bomber, who is responsible for a horrific attack on New York City in 1975.

Just a short way into the proceedings, Hawke meets a person (Sarah Snook) - and I use that word for a reason - who started out as a girl, became a man due to consequences out of her control and then became, well, I can't exactly divulge that.

This sequence is set in the early 1970s and it involves a significantly long back story that Snook relays to Hawke in a bar. Viewers may wonder why this woman's story begins to take precedence following an opening sequence during which Hawke fails to catch the bomber but, trust me, it all falls into place.

Snook's character was dropped off at an orphanage as an infant and found herself to be not only tougher than all of her schoolmates growing up in the 1960s, but also smarter. She excels in virtually everything, but not love. A fated romance with a mysterious man leads her to some drastic life changes, all of which she discusses with Hawke's character.

The film jumps back and forth through time to the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s and the filmmakers manage to capture each era pretty impressively. The tale is a twisty one and - pretty much at all times - compelling. And the Spierig Brothers - who also directed "Daybreakers" and "Undead" - allow for the story to remain mysterious, unveiling its surprises slowly. Just when you think that one plot twist has blind-sided you, an even better one soon follows. The filmmakers do this without the film seeming gimmicky.

This is a solid little sci-fi thriller that is opening in limited release, but could easily be a sleeper - at least, I think so - through word of mouth. I'm surprised it hasn't opened wider, especially considering that January typically offers little in the way of competition.

No comments:

Post a Comment