If you’ll remember back to my review of Australian film Healing, you’ll know I’m not the biggest fan of Australian films. As if this wasn’t enough to overcome, Predestination also has to deal with the expectations that come with being a time-travel movie.
For every good time-travel movie like Terminator 2 or Twelve Monkeys, there’s plenty of films that struggle to effective pull off a good non-linear narrative. There are no guarantees here and even time-travel movies for which the stars have aligned behind (Looper) have often missed the mark.
All this said, it is my absolute pleasure to say that Predestination doesn’t just fall into the good side of time-travel movies and overcome my negative predispositions towards Australian films – it’s outright one of the best movies of the year. It cleverly draws you in with its premise – equal parts intriguing and outlandish – of a time-travelling secret agency hunting down an enigmatic terrorist known as ‘The Fizzle Bomber’. The trick here , however, is the way the movie uses this premise to develop its characters their own enthralling emotional story.
I’m usually pretty eloquent when it comes to divulging plot details but I feel like the narrative arc of Predestination is magnificent and too good to ruin. The story spans decades and jumps between time periods with ease but still manages to keep the pacing tight. Each of these time periods is brought to life through sharp editing and rich cinematography – and it’s a credit to the film’s engaging cast that the movie never felt like it was bloated or dragging.
Predestination has a small core cast of John (Ethan Hawke), Jane (Sarah Snook) and Roberts (Noah Taylor) and they play each other very well. Dialogue is tight, emotional, packed with subtext and yet delivered flawlessly – in particular by Sarah Snook who delivers a great sense of weight to her characterisation.
This is of course, a credit to the film’s incredible script. Predestination keeps its cards close to its chest but at the same time, never makes it unclear or confusing what is happening. And that’s a compliment made all the more impressive by the fact that this is a time-travel movie we’re talking about.