Predestination - This Movie Time Cop Rocks (But Not Timecop Rocks)
Dir: The Spierig Brothers
Starring Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor
This is a smart little sci-fi movie. Small in scale maybe, but big in ideas. And simply huge in ambition. A few years back the German-born Aussie-based Spierig Brothers put Ethan Hawke in the intriguing vampires rule movie Daybreakers. Here, they move onto adapting Robert A. Heinlein’s short story All You Zombies, rope Hawke back in, and deliver one of the twistiest, turniest time travel flicks you’re ever likely to see.
Fundamentally a tale about identity, Hawke plays a temporal agent (you could call him a time cop, just don’t think Timecop) on the trail of a terrorist known as the Fizzle Bomber. Whilst undercover tending bar back in the 1970s, he meets a guy drinking whisky with a (shaggy dog?) story to tell. The guy used to be a girl. The girl was abandoned as a child on the steps of an orphanage. The girl got pregnant. Her baby was stolen. The man who was the girl has a big future ahead of him/her. Hawke offers him the chance to sort out these events (he can time travel don’t forget.) Oh yeah, and there’s still a Fizzle Bomber to find.
And if you thinks that sounds convoluted – you ain’t seen nothing yet!
But the Spierigs manage to make it all hang together remarkably well. The first half of the movie seems to abandon its grander themes and just function as a late night bartender listening to a hard luck story two hander. This is made completely absorbing partly due to Hawke smartly taking a back seat to Snook, perfectly convincing as both the semi-androgynous man, and the girl. As things ramp up, the film delivers genuine surprises, even as it plays violently with the standard-issue rules of time travel. Inevitably, it starts to veer off into alleyways and avenues down which logic just can’t follow. But damn it’s different. Extremely well acted, extremely inventive.
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