Blog Correspondent Pete Harrison has been recommending “Predestination” to me for a couple of years now. It took me the longest time to get around to it — I knew that the Spierig brothers’ mindbending science fiction film would be challenging, and I wanted to wait until I was in just the right mood to take it in.
It turns out Pete’s recommendation was a damned good one. (Followers of this blog know he is our resident horror expert; turns out he knows his sci-fi too.) “Predestination” is a grim, moody, well directed time travel movie, beautifully performed by Sarah Snook, Ethan Hawke and Noah Taylor. The storytelling style reminded me so much of Christopher Nolan’s work that I had to check the credits again to make sure he wasn’t at the helm. (Coming from me, that’s high praise.) I’d rate “Predestination” a 9 out of 10.
I don’t think this movie is for everyone. It’s hard-core sci-fi, adapted from a short story by Robert Heinlein called “– All You Zombies –,” and its stranger story elements will challenge the viewer instead of of pleasing them emotionally. (This would be a very confusing choice for a date movie, for example.)
And there is a major plot element here that requires so much suspension of disbelief that I think many viewers will be put off by it. (It doesn’t involve the plot-enabling time travel tehcnology.) I truly enjoyed this film, and even I struggled with this element’s plausibility. I feel certain it was easier for Heinlein to get across on the page than for any filmmaker to show on screen. (Would any of us react the way these characters do if we were in the same situation? I don’t think the human heart works quite the way the story suggests it does.)
Still, this was a very good movie for a science fiction fan. If you are in the mood for something dark, different and demanding, then give it a chance.