BLU-RAY REVIEW: PREDESTINATION / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: THE SPIERIG BROTHERS / SCREENPLAY: THE SPIERIG BROTHERS / STARRING: ETHAN HAWKE, SARAH SNOOK, NOAH TAYLOR / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 6TH
Everyone loves a time travel romp, right? All those paradoxical twists and turns are manna to filmmakers trying to give something unexpected to the seen-it-all-before generation (that’s us). Mind you, they’re a nightmare for the reviewer who can’t tell you what it’s about without all sorts of spoiler-horror. So Predestination is the Spierig Brothers' latest movie, in which Ethan Hawke is a “Temporal Agent” (of course he is) trying to prevent The Fizzle Bomber (no, really) from carrying out an attack that has killed thousands before they can actually do it (because it’s about time travel, duh). That’s your lot plot-wise, other than to say it’s based on a Robert Heinlein short story so it comes with pretty high expectations.
Any good? Funny you should ask . Actually, yes it is. If you have a look at some of the mainstream reviews they’ll tell you that the plot is “challenging”, “head-spinning”, “confusing” etc. However, as you lot are pretty au fait with the genre we can assure you that it’s none of these things. It’s by no means brainless but it is about as easy to follow as a paradoxiwotsit time travel caper can be. You’ll work out most of what’s going to happen within thirty minutes (although we confess to missing part of the twist despite it being telegraphed in the opening scene). So if it’s so predictable, why is it good?
Basically, this is a decent yarn well told. Amazing how many movies fail on this basic requirement. The Spierig Brothers have eschewed the trappings of the action movie that so many of these paradoxthingies seem to love and told a big story by way of the interaction between a handful of key characters. The first half of the movie is just a conversation in a bar interspersed with flashbacks. It relies entirely on the core cast of Hawke, Taylor and Snook to deliver the goods. In fact, Sarah Snook’s rather brilliant performance is absolutely key to the film’s success. We won’t say too much about it but the only times she slightly fails to convince in an extremely challenging role, it’s more down to the directors than her. Even the rather odd plot strand (from Heinlein’s source story) about young women training to be astronaut “companions” is pretty well handled and surprisingly entertaining.
It might be a bit predictable to us time-travelling veterans but it’s tight and does what’s needed with some splendid performances. Everyone loves a time-travel romp, right? All those paradoxical twists and turns are manna to filmmakers trying to...
Oddly enough, this review was actually written on 18th August 1979. It was discovered on an old C90 cassette recorder that... .
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