Movie Review: Predestination

I am thankful I was able to watch this movie in this less than serviceable month. In my recent reviews I have recommended Inherent Vice as an alternative to seeing many new releases. I say you should still see it, but afterward, put aside some time and rent Predestination.

* * *

            I was in 11th grade when I discovered Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. When it comes to conventional books I am a slow reader, but the whole time, I was inspired. It was enough to make me want to enroll at a military school and attempt to pursue a career in the Army. Of course nothing came of it, but I never forgot about Heinlein.

Say what you will about the film adaptation, Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers is a great movie. It is gory, satirical, violent, and just plain fun, no matter how far it deviates from the original. It was the first R-rated movie I ever saw and the more I came to understand it, the more I liked it. And before you say anything, the sequels do not count. Although, Invasion is more acceptable compared to the others.

Predestination is only the second of Heinlein’s works to be adapted. I have not read the story it is based on, but I read an in-depth summary, and the fact the movie even worked is a miracle. It is a shame it is not in theaters. I can tell you why that probably is, but I run the risk of ruining the movie.

The narrative is inspired by the short story All You Zombies. It begins with The Barkeep, played by Ethan Hawke, a temporal law enforcement agent, traveling back in time to 1970’s New York City. His mission is to catch the Fizzle Bomber, a criminal that has evaded capture for years. He meets a character played by Sarah Snook, and that is all I am going to tell you. Any further explanation might give away what happens.

Predestination comes from the Spierig Brothers, the same pair that directed Daybreakers, a very underappreciate horror-noir about vampires. They took the same aesthetic and applied it to this film, with a good helping of atompunk. For those of you who do not know what that is, imagine if 50s pulp science fiction was the future today. A better example would be the video game Fallout 3.

What I am getting at is the film has a very unique feel, while not being too out there. Everything makes sense and is easy to understand. The script and actors did a good job of keeping everything grounded so you could follow what was going on.

Hawke was great as usual, no complaints there, but Snook stood out because this was the first thing I have ever seen her in. Considering the material she had to work with, her performance was more than impressive.

Predestination is very, very good. The only complaint I find is the slow-burn pace. I mention it because other people may find issue. But overall, it is just about perfect. Everyone with an iTunes account must see it. Rent it, get some friends together, and watch it. No matter who you are, you will not be disappointed.

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