Saturday, May 21, 2016

Movie Review: Predestination (2014)

Movie: Predestination (2014)

Director: The Spierig Brothers (Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig)

Writer: The Spierig Brothers & Robert A. Heinlein

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor, Freya Stafford, Christopher Stollery, Cate Wolfe, & Ben Pendergast

One-Line Plot Synopsis: A time-traveling agent (Hawke) goes back in time to try and capture the one criminal who has evaded him throughout his career.

First off, kudos to whoever put this trailer together.  It's like they were specifically targeting me when they put this thing together.  Just mixing together a little bit of Looper with a little bit of Source Code with a little bit of Dark City with a little bit of The Edge of Tomorrow.  And they threw in a dash of the only good thing about The Adjustment Bureau...the suits.  All of those movies are my cup of tea (sans Damon and his fedora in the Adjustment Bureau.

Predestination is written and directed by the Spierig Brothers who also worked with Ethan Hawke in the vampire movie, Daybreakers, that came out right before the giant and now unavoidable influx of vampire movies.  The direction and tone of Predestination very much has the same feel as Daybreakers.  I think it has something to do with the tint of the film making and the tone of the movie.  It doesn't hurt that Hawke is the star of both movies either.  Judging by the two movies, the Spierig Brothers also have a knack for dropping very memorable lines in their films.  Every half hour or so there was something that stuck with me that I wanted to remember to look up after the end of the movie.  They definitely have a way with words, like this one...

"What if I could put him in front of you?  The man that ruined your life.  If I could guarantee that you'd get away with it, would you kill him?"

I've heard the saying that narration is the laziest form of writing in a movie, and while I agree with that somewhat, I do think there are situations and movies where that device, when used sparingly and properly can work (i.e. The Shawshank Redemption and Memento).  However, in Predestination, there was way too much of it in the beginning of the movie and it didn't seem completely necessary.  The first hour of the movie is basically the telling of a back story and is conservatively, 60% narration.  It's gets to be a bit much when The Unmarried Mother (actual character's name) goes on telling a story for about a half hour.  It gets to be a little tiresome, at least to me it does.  The second half of the movie is what really pulled me in.

I think Ethan Hawke might be slipping into my "see everything he's in" category, if only because all of his movie choices are so different and interesting.  This is the especially the case with science-fiction movies, even if I don't love the movie, just give me an interesting and original story.  I can appreciate that and also it can spark certain conversation about situations and such.  

This was my first time seeing a movie with Sarah Snook (she must loathe the fact that Snooki ever became a thing) and I really enjoyed her performance, especially the conversation scenes between her and Ethan Hawke.  It's funny because she looked familiar but I couldn't place her and it ends up that's because I've never seen her before.  Maybe she has a little Samantha Morton in her?  Either way, that's a tough role to tackle and I fully believe that she was up tot he task.  Was it just me or did she look like a young Leo DiCaprio in the bar scene?

Is it just me or does Noah Taylor look like him and Ben Mendelsohn could be brothers?  They both have such a unique and captivating way of speaking, at least to me they do.  I still don't forgive him for Jamie Lannister, but I do like him otherwise.

Movies that deal with time travel are a little harder to pull of than most I would say based on some unwritten rules you have to play with and abide by but Predestination does a good job of navigating between a story about time travel and a story about an individual's humanity and internal struggle.

Rating: 7/10

P.S. I really dig the last lines of the film.

"You'll have to make tough choices.  You'll influence the past.  Can we change our futures?  I don't know.  The only think I know for sure is that you are the best thing that's ever happened to me.  I miss you dreadfully."