Predestination

Predestination (Michael & Peter Spierig, 2014) wr. Michael & Peter Spierig, story Robert A. Heinlein, prod. Paddy McDonald, Tim McGahan; Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook; 'a temporal agent who has to recruit his younger self to pursue the one criminal who has for a lifetime eluded him'; MIFF 2014

I recognised something quite remarkable in Sarah Snook when I saw Not Suitable for Children (Peter Templeman, 2012) in 2012: see my note on that, written at the time. She should win Best Actress at the 2014 AACTAs in January 2015, and go on to greatness. Update: she did win the award, and has since worked in Hollywood.

Predestination is their third project and it rehashes tropes and themes familiar to fans of time travel movies. There’s a funny machine that comes with a silly explanation, looping plot tangents that intersect at various points along a scrambled timeline, consideration of paradoxes and loads of pseudo philosophical/pseudo scientific “what if?” scenarios. The familiar “what if you met yourself” chestnut is given such an outrageous intellectual workout that divulging the details would be churlish. ... Predestination features a startling performance from the little-known actress Sarah Snook who gives it real oomph and impact as a sci-fi picture crossed with a genuine character study. Luke Buckmaster, Crikey.

The third feature by Australia's Spierig Brothers, Peter and Michael, confirms their talent. Taking a short story - "All You Zombies" by Robert A. Heinlein written in 1960 - they have created a genuinely original, staggeringly clever and tremendously entertaining thriller. Photographed superbly by Ben Nott, the film has all the trappings of film noir in its mysterious and wonderfully tricky narrative, and the performances are beyond praise - Noah Taylor as a government recruiter, Ethan Hawke as the agent and, above all, Sarah Snook who is quite amazing as Jane. David Stratton, At the Movies.

To try and wrap your head around the plot of Predestination can only lead to madness. Don't get me wrong: The movie itself is a trip. Just jump off the cliff and go with the Spierig brothers, Peter and Michael, as they whoosh into the labyrinth of their own fervid imaginations. If you get stuck and feel lost — and you will — don't sweat it. ... You won't be able to take your eyes off Snook, an Aussie actress who makes whatever sex she's playing almost irrelevant. You watch her. You hear her. You believe. It's a dynamite performance. Pete Travers, Rolling Stone.

The Spierig brothers have deftly fashioned an unpredictable thrill ride, and the joy is to fit together all its puzzle pieces. Hand them a decent budget, and watch them be the next Wachowskis. Hawke continues to make risky and interesting choices, and this one echoes 1997's Gattaca. The virtually unknown Snook truly impresses playing both genders. This is the first great film of 2015. Martin Tsai, Los Angeles Times.

Don’t expect car chases or crowd scenes. The Spierigs — German boys, Michael and Peter (they made Daybreakers) — keep things moody and intimate. This is a deeply solipsistic movie, but how deep is something you’ll need to find out for yourself. David Edelstein, New York Magazine.


Garry Gillard | New: 5 December, 2014 | Now: 22 March, 2017