Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Time Travel Story That Didn't Give Me A Headache

OK, Predestination. It's a time travel movie, so keep that in mind. I'm not sure how to describe this without spoiling the hell out of it, so let's see how it goes.

Ethan Hawke works for an agency in the 1980s that uses time travel to save lives by averting tragedies. He's been trying to stop a bomber known as the Fizzle Bomber in the New York of the '70s, without success, and so travels back again, this time as a bartender. He gets in a long conversation with one of the customers, John, formerly Jane (played by Sarah Snook), where we learn about John's life, which has been a constant string of him striving to succeed or to find a place in the world, and the world constantly screwing him over. And now this attentive barkeep offers John a chance to go back an kill the person who hurt John the most: the guy he fell in love with in college, when he was Jane, and look, I have no idea if I'm handling the pronouns properly for Snook's character. She identifies as a woman through her early life, but now she's a guy, but that's something John still seems to struggle with (understandable considering the circumstances), so I don't know if I should just use female pronouns constantly or not.

At that point, the film is more a matter of how all these jigsaw pieces fit together. If you have much familiarity with time travel stories, it shouldn't be hard for you to figure out. Also, the way they shoot a lot of the scenes in the flashbacks through Jane's life are telling. The way you only see people from certain angles. There was one reveal near the end that caught me by surprise, mainly because I was thinking about how an entirely different character tied into the whole thing. I was left wondering if they were making any sort of difference at all, or if this is just some crazy closed circle where everything that happens one way or the other is canceled out at some point or the other.

I suspect Predestination may not be the kind of movie that holds up to repeat viewings, but it's definitely worth seeing once.

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