PLOT: A time-traveling Temporal Agent searches over several decades for the notorious Fizzle Bomber. On his final assignment, he finds himself desperate to capture the one criminal that has managed to elude him during his service.
Every so often a movie comes out that is so utterly compelling and original, that it is nearly impossible to describe. PREDESTINATION is a strange journey, one which warrants a second viewing. Yet the first time out, you should avoid knowing as much as possible about the film. The Spierig Brothers (Peter and Michael) take on the sub-genre of time travel films, adding a number of unexpected twists as well as a surprisingly mature take on human nature. It is a beautifully shot feature, with terrific performances especially Sarah Snook who also shined in JESSABELLE and one that will leave you thinking well after the end credits.
Simply put, the story revolves around Ethan Hawke who is known as The Barkeep. Yet he is much more than a barkeep as he packs weapons, a mysterious case, and has the ability to time travel. This Temporal Agent is on the hunt for a criminal nicknamed The Fizzle Bomber that continues to evade him. On his assignment he meets a fascinating stranger played by Sarah Snook. While much of the first half of the film focuses on this strangers story, it leads to something unexpected and nonetheless exciting. To say much more would be an injustice to the viewer, as this is a complex feature film that takes far more risks than your average science fiction tale.
As previously mentioned, the performances from both Hawke and Snook are very good. Yet it is Snook who truly shines in this mysterious role. Again, revealing too much about her character would give too much away, but she is exceptional. With JESSABELLE, she was able to elevate the decent material to a much higher level. Her work in PREDESTINATION is even more moving, and it is an incredibly challenging role to take on. While Hawkes Barkeep doesnt have quite the depth that Snooks character does, the talented actor continues to prove what a solid leading man he can be although Id almost consider him more of a leading character actor which is far more fascinating.
Michael and Peter Spierig continue to offer up new ways to tell familiar stories. It also helps that they have such an eye for creating such impressive images. And with PREDESTINATION, they have gone one step further than their previous efforts. This is an enthralling visual piece, one that manages to cast a few necessary shadows on the events happening on screen. Even down to a couple of effectively choreographed fight sequences, this is a very detailed presentation that is even more arresting the second time around. This is an imaginative and incredibly well directed feature that is as much style as it is substance.
The filmmakers have crafted a genre piece that is character driven, but not without intensity. While the introduction of Hawke to Snook may drag slightly in the first half hour or so, the deeper we delve into her story, the tighter it gets. While it may take a few moments to truly connect, they fully manage to link a number of time periods together in a believable yet intricate way. Told in a nonlinear narrative, The Spierig Brothers who also wrote the script reveal just enough to make the journey all the more intensified. While it may simply be about a time traveler trying to stop an unstoppable bomber, it is far more than just that.
PREDESTINATION is definitely a slow ride in the beginning, yet as it progresses it presents a refreshingly unique take on time travel. Ethan Hawke, Noah Taylor and Sarah Snook all give terrific performances, but it is Snook who once again proves to be a major talent. It is exciting to see a challenging film, one that deals with such diverse subjects as sexual identity and violence, as well as the moral issues brought up in an act of revenge. If you are craving an original work, one that is far more satisfying than your typical January release, this is one destination worth heading to.
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