*The last paragraph expresses short analysis* No need to worry. I will eventually get to the Academy nominated films for best picture. For now though, let's highlight something that may have made its way past your attention in this crazy new season called 2015.
Before we go in depth though, I have the difficult job of describing the plot without spoiling anything. Well, Predestination is a time travel movie. . . It involves “temporal agents”, a terrorist called “the fizzle bomber” and it contains a whole bunch of plot twists/reveals that will make your head explode. I won't say much more because this unexpectancy is the main reason to see the film.
Ethan Hawke is another main reason to see the film. He is someone who sort of sneaks his way around the cinematic landscape being part of great, ambitious pieces of art. He was one of the main characters in Dead Poets Society, then he was in the critically acclaimed Before Trilogy, Boyhood, plenty of other indie films, then the one I am talking about today. This doesn't mean that any of these films are great visual narratives/stories. I will however say, that they most all of are great pieces of art. Almost none more so than here. The question however is whether this is a great movie?
Where this film does succeed is in telling a compelling story. We feel - for the most part - the characters' pain, their emotion, and everything else needed from the dynamic performances in Predestination. Sarah Snook, the other lead in the film, is actually pretty dang fantastic. I'm not spoiling anything due to this already in the trailer, so I will highlight that she does play both a male and female character. That right there, demands a multi-layered performance. She pulls it off. This appears as if it could be the start of a very promising career. I can only hope that she gets more meaty roles down the road for her to sink her teeth into to showcase her talent.
The other dynamic lead of course is Ethan Hawke. He also gives another really solid, multi-layered performance, as an emotionally complex temporal agent devoting his life to stopping the terrorist known as the fizzle bomber. From the subtlety in his voice, to how he reacts to the smallest of inflection on another person's face, are impressive. These small amounts of gravitas required from his role are put on display right when they need to be, and showcase just how talented Ethan Hawke can be.
When it comes to not panning out, there is only a couple minor flaws. The first is something that may sneak its way past a couple of you, but the exposition is laid on a tad bit too thick to compensate for a shorter run time. Sometimes as a viewer you wish that they could just explain things in a less blunt manner and have them pop up more organically over an extended conversation. For the most part though the situational exposition is laid out very cleverly, so this isn't huge. Furthermore when it comes to minor grievances, Predestination hands one too many clues into your lap to figure out all the plot twists that are going to come. I know this process in a film like this requires very delicate handling, and they were probably catering to an audience with a little less intuition. That being said, if your film is going to be “mind-blowing”, I would try and not have too many nuggets land into the audiences lap (though not too few) before you have the big reveals. Again this is only a minor flaw, so nothing to worry about.
Predestination, when it is all said and done, is quite a fantastic indie film. It may not be the best of the best, but it gets close. Small things from the beautiful cinematography, to impressive production design already embellish this mind-bender. It is only made better that Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snooke give really great performances and that the plot just might be even better than I have been describing. Again, it may not be perfection on any level, but for what it is, Predestination is more than serviceable in what typically is the deadest month of the year for movies coming out.
Personal Preference: 4/5
Critical Analysis: 4.25/5
P.S. You can find set film to rent online on such sites as Flixster and itunes, as odds are you won't be able to find a theatre near you playing it.