Predestination (2015)

It’s not been a bad couple of years for Ethan Hawke. Last year, along with Richard Linklater and Julie Delpy, he brought us the charm that was Before Midnight, and this year he was back (sans Delpy) doing the rounds with the triumphant Boyhood. In amongst all the drama, the depiction of adolescence and the Before saga, however, lies this little sci-fi flick that explains why I’m currently feening for a Hawke!

Predestination follows a bartender/temporal agent (Hawke) who is sent on a final assignment to catch an elusive criminal, the “Fizzle Bomber”, who is responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians in the city of New York. Armed with a time machine – neatly disguised as a vintage violin case – and a transformed “Unmarried Mother” (Sarah Snook), the unnamed agent faces a race against time to create a future that would be better for us all.

So often time-travel is attempted in films, but rarely is it as intricate as this tale, and seldom do the twists and turns amount to an engaging and affecting ride that is able to surprise right up until the end. Directed by the Spierig brothers and adapted from a Robert A. Heinlein short story, Predestination is an assuredly realised picture that strikes the right balance between the fun stuff and the profound, and also manages to convincingly tackle more delicate themes while still remaining firmly within the whacky realm of science fiction.

The brothers do, at times, try to cram a little too much into their modest frame, so from time to time we are left more bewildered than bewitched, but this in no way detracts from an otherwise highly enjoyable film, that features an ever-reliable performance from Hawke and an outstanding turn by fellow Australian and newbie Snook. Definitely worth a watch.