Predestination (2015) – reviewed by George

An agent carrying a musical instrument case goes to the location of a bomb and prepares to disarm it, but he hears someone behind him. He whirls and levels his gun. Shots are exchanged, and now he has too little time to disconnect and disable the activating mechanism, which sets off the bomb with fire. He disconnects it, which stops the bomb, and tries to shove it into the containment box he has brought, but it goes off before it is safely contained. His face is badly burned, almost melted off, but he is alive. After months of healing and plastic surgery he looks fine – but nothing like himself. He looks like Ethan Hawke.
Before he leaves the hospital he receives a commendation and a new assignment – he is still after the bomber, who apparently was not caught during the agent’s long healing process. He also gets a new musical instrument case. The series of buttons on the case, which would normally be for the password to unlock the case, are set to a date. It is a time machine and he is going back to 1970.
Next we see the agent undercover as a bartender, still after the bomber, and the story becomes the life of one girl. She is an exceptional person – exceptionally gifted and exceptionally unhappy. The two stories develop and intertwine and we are shown a Predestination Paradox.
This is an Australian film, shot at the Docklands Studios Melbourne. It was written and directed by the Spierig Brothers, Peter and Michael, and their company did the digital visual effects. It was based on a  short story by Robert A. Heinlein called “All You Zombies”. The lead actors are Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, and Noah Taylor.
The Spierig Brothers are two very talented guys. The rules regarding the time jumps are actually coherent and not hard to follow, and within the script they make sense: quite a change from the usual sci-fi fantasy film. Visually the film is fantastically good. But the story is a Moebius strip, and whether you put it together early or late, you may feel amazed and pleased, as I mostly did, or irritated, which I did a bit as well.
When the credits roll I think you will find it hard to believe how many actors are listed. The film is so tight and claustrophobic  that it seems to have contained only the three leads and maybe seven supporting actors.
Somewhat irritated or not, I liked this movie a lot. I will be following the Spierigs and looking forward to more great entertainment.

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