In Theatres: 
Jan 09, 2015
Running Time: 
97 minutes
Time travel films can be a fickle genre. All the pieces must flow together perfectly or else the entire story is put into jeopardy. Like a puzzle, if one of the pieces doesn’t fit properly it becomes more difficult to see the bigger picture. Predestination brilliantly puts the pieces together in the correct order as it slowly unveils its completed image.

Since the invention of time travel, a secret government organization has been employing gifted people as Temportal Agents to travel back into the past to prevent crimes from happening. In March of 1975 a terrorist known as the “Fizzle Bomber” detonates an explosive in New York City, killing 11,000 people. One Temporal Agent (Ethan Hawke) has spent his entire career trying to prevent this catastrophe from happening but to no avail. With each time jump, he gathers one more clue or piece of evidence that puts him one step closer to catching the killer. As the mysterious person’s identity starts become clearer, the Temporal Agent travels back into the past for one last mission to meet with the one person who can hopefully put an end to everything.

Predestination is a film all about identity and determining one’s own fate. One of the fundamental questions of every time travel story is whether or not someone can truly alter the past or if we are all on a predetermined path. “Whatever happened, happened,” as they say.

The film starts off as the nameless Temporal Agent travels back in time where he disguises himself as a bartender and listens to the life story of a writer, know by the penname “The Unmarried Mother” (Sarah Snook). Born Jane and left on the steps of an orphanage as a baby, she retells how she grew up being different than everybody else and was basically outcasted from society. Eventually she falls in love with a man but then things spiral out of control. Right after her lover tragically leaves her one night, she finds out that she’s pregnant. During the C-section, it is revealed that she is intersex and that the surgery have left her female organs irreparable so at the doctor’s advice she becomes a man, John. Furthermore, her baby is kidnapped by a mysterious man while at the hospital. The Temporal Agent believes this man to be the Fizzle Bomber and reveals his identity to John, giving him the option to come with him to kill the person who ruined his life. 

Naturally, there’s a lot of confusion at the start of the film. The Agency itself remains fairly vague as only the bare minimum of details regarding time travel is explained. Agents carry around this black, violin-looking suitcase that acts as the time travel device, and the rules amount to basically not messing around too much in the past. As the film progresses, details fall into place and the puzzle pieces start to connect.

Predestination is a slow burn that slowly shines light on its mysteries and keeps you guessing until the very end. Like many time travel films there are moments that don’t make much sense as you’re watching them. It’s only until the big “ah ha” moment where you realize the story’s true brilliance. Ethan Hawke and especially Sarah Snook are excellent in the film and keep you intrigued by their wonderful storytelling. It’s simply impossible to look away.

So many time travel films get muddled in their attempt to an interesting story while adhering to the “rules” of time travel. Predestination is a captivating and intelligent thriller that you’ll want to watch over and over again. It’s a film where every piece fits perfectly into place.
Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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