Ethan Hawke is a temporal agent sent back in time to 1975 to prevent a catastrophic bombing where 11,000 people lose their lives. In order to do this, he must find out the identity of the so-called ‘Fizzle Bomber’ which leads him to question a mysterious person in a bar who promises to tell Hawke the best story he’s ever heard. The androgynous storyteller begins the tale with a baby being dropped at an orphanage in the 40s, growing up to become a gifted young woman before being asked to join the work of a secretive company called Space Corp. Is this the story of a killer?
Time travel paradoxes can be fun, and with a good enough story, it can be easy to forget how ridiculous the whole idea is. Predestination is built on paradoxes that would make Sarah Connor’s impregnation by a man from the future look positively straightforward in comparison. It is a twisty-turny thriller that is smart and mostly gripping, even if by the end it doesn’t hold up to any further scrutiny.
Considering much of what occurs is simply a conversation between two people in a bar, interspersed with frequent flashbacks, Predestination is attention grabbing from start to finish. While Ethan Hawke is dependable, it is Sarah Snook who emerges as the real star, taking on a brave role that requires her to do a lot more than the average actress. To say too much about her character would be to give away some major revelations, suffice to say that Snook rises to the challenge.
Predestination feels familiar from the likes of Timecop, Looper and Source Code but doesn’t quite manage to satisfy in the same way as any of these, despite some more original elements in its DNA.
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