Movie Reviews

Review: 'Predestination'

By Tay Yek KeakMovies - 19 December 2014 4:52 PM | Updated 6:40 PM

Review: 'Predestination'


Our Rating

3/5 Stars

Ethan Hawke has this line in the movie: “Time travel can be disorientating.” 

And that just has to be the understatement of the year.

Try “totally befuddling” instead, because ‘Predestination’, a sci-fi mystery thriller, is such a strange, mindbending, and time-jumping trip, you just don’t know when something – or more specifically, someone – ends, continues or even begins. 

If you think ‘Looper’ – that Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt time-travelling flick – were off-the-curve, this one is loopier. 

But in a how-the-heck-is-it-possible way that sticks with you long after the show, when you would still be trying to figure it all out. You may even go home and look at your family photo album, and wonder from where everybody came.    

There is an elusive, unidentified mass murderer on the loose known as the Fizzle Bomber, in New York City, circa 1975.

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Hawke plays a wearier-than-a-drug-addict Temporal Agent (he has no name) who is disguised as a bartender in a dingy bar right before Big Bomb Time when thousands of people are destined to be killed.

Basically, he is some kind of time cop who pops in from the future via a time machine hidden in a funky violin case.  

“We prevent crime before it takes place,” he reveals, coming from a murky law-enforcement organisation called the Temporal Bureau where humourless, unsmiling tax accountants from the future work as if they are fidgeting with our lives without us knowing.  

Okay, maybe think Matt Damon’s ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ meets Jean-Claude Van Damme’s ‘Timecop’ meets ‘Looper’.  

But wait, ‘Predestination’ is not just about time jumping here and there. It has a freaky plot that smells like it came from that crazy guy at the back of the class you had in school who always had an insane “what if” idea.

The hunt for the elusive bomber in the movie is just the pretext for a bigger mystery to unravel, in a smoky detective noir-style.    

Who exactly are us? How many of us are there? Which comes first – the chicken or the egg?  

The Temporal Agent offers a better animal reference here about a “snake that eats its own tail forever and ever”.

Keep that notion in mind when you’re watching this, and pay serious attention.  

Doze off or go to the loo at your peril because for maximum satisfaction, you need to try to keep track of the time jumping back and forth from the 1940s to ’60s to ’70s to the 1980s and then circling like a merry-go-round.

The best is to simply give up and just go with the flow to wait for the big revelation-twist.

The other character to keep both eyes on is Australian actress Sarah Snook (last seen in ‘Jessabelle’) who plays a man. 

Yep, a man. A strange-looking man with a fake deep voice that makes you think of Singapore comedian Hossan Leong with a frog in his throat.  

But she is good, so good. She plays both a man and a woman, who is the same person with male and female sex organs, who gets pregnant by a mystery man, and then the child is kidnapped.    

Don’t ask. Just go with the flow.       

Suffice it to say that you will react to this confusing movie, directed by Australian-German twin brothers, Michael and Peter Spierig (vampire flick ‘Daybreakers’), in two ways.

Either you will have no idea why you paid to spend all that time in the cinema, or you will be blown away and want to quickly grab the 1959 short story on which it is based, called ‘All You Zombies’ by Robert A Heinlein.

Apparently, when he first read the script, Hawke himself uttered: “What the (bleep) di d I just read?”

You may watch this show twice and still not fill all its gaping loopholes.  

Yet, ‘Predestination’ could be very fun to follow that way – if you don’t mind your mind getting zonked and feeling weird at your next family gathering.   

‘Predestination’ is now showing

Movie Photos

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