January and February are known by many to be the months in which new films die a slow, painful box office death. From god awful horror flicks, to popcorn generic cinematic adventures, these are the movies that Razzies are made for. But, once in a while, there is an exception to be made, and for 2015, that easily can be awarded to a small, indie-type project that comes from Australia. It explores a variety of subjects the majority of these winter releases never think to discuss, and somehow is wrapped in a sci-fi, Twilight Zone approved package.
Let me begin with a popular phrase: In a world…. where Ethan Hawke is casted in underrated movies, he is, yet again, placed in such a situation. He is, in this film, a “Temporal Agent,” whose job it is to kill destructive people in history before they enact their terror on humanity. In this particular case, Hawke’s character is hunting down an individual known as “The Fizzle Bomber,” and his first stop is to play “Bartender” at a random establishment in 1975, a few days before the “Fizzle Bomber” does his deed. Suddenly, a random stranger (played by Sarah Snook) comes in, and tells Hawke’s character a story. This story is important, the kind of story that changes the lives of those who hear it, and the course of said history.
Predestination is not your typical film. It starts and ends in ways that are hard to pin point exactly, and is the kind of tale that if it were handled by anyone else, would fall apart at the seams into laughable, ridiculous territory. But with the direction of The Spierig Brothers, this movie never loses its drive or its purpose, and feels so perfectly in sync, you can’t imagine it being directed, nor casted, in any other way.
Let’s discuss arguably the best part of this movie: Sarah Snook. If anyone were to ask me who would be one of the biggest breakout stars of 2015, I never would have even been able to mention her, since by most standards she is an unknown. But without a doubt, Snook is a treasure. Her performance in this film is the kind that will be remarked and discussed in film classes for years to come, and be a standard for many actors to live by. She’s electric, magical, all the positive descriptions one can give to such a performer. She truly is remarkable, especially in the layers she gives to her character.
As mentioned above, this movie is full of twists. In fact, many will regard it as the first “Mind Trip” (or Mind *BLEEP*) movie of 2015. Though some aspects were a bit predictable for this seasoned movie goer, I still was shocked by the end result, in the most delightful of ways. It’s a treat to have a film still inspire and keep you thinking as it continues, something most movies in the past few years have neglected to achieve.
But most likely, the aspect that many will want to discuss with regard to this movie, is the role that gender plays within it. Again, I dare not spoil the specifics of the plot, but let’s just say no one is who they seem, exactly, and the specifics of gender roles play a key role in that. Whether you believe the message within this movie is positive or not, it’ll definitely spark a discussion, one I hope I can elaborate on in a future article.
One of the first great films of 2015, Predestination is an excellent start to a new year at the movies. It’s a great sign to see that films of this genre are still being made with this much care and attention to detail, the likes of which require a second viewing. With the excellent performances, storytelling, and script overall, this has been already added to my best of 2015. Watch out, new movies, you’ve got competition already in this race.