Films on TV: Predestination

Since graduating from shooting low-budget short in their backyard, directing brothers Michael and Peter Spierig have never been afraid to let their fervid imaginations run wild. Their debut, Undead, was an overbearingly camp homage to the zombie genre, while its follow-up, Daybreakers, raised the bonkers stakes even higher, posing a glossy chase thriller about refined vampires who harvest human blood. It’s no surprise, then, that their latest outing should be their weirdest offering yet: a slick, stylish sci-fi yarn that pulls on the heart strings just as much as it noodles the mind.

A twinkling Ethan Hawke plays a Temporal Agent, who, after recovering from having his face liquefied by a fracas with a firebomb, is despatched on one final mission to stop the elusive Fizzle Bomber from launching a deadly attack in the past. His orders lead him straight into an encounter with Sarah Snook’s boozy confessions columnist whose doozy of a secret might just hold the key to unravelling this timey-wimey, period-hopping mystery.

To say anymore would be to spoil the fun of wading into this mind-boggling sci-fi saga unencumbered – for those unfamiliar with Robert A. Heinlein’s short story All You Zombies, at least; needless to say it’s not long before all the twists and turns in the rapidly multiplying storylines will tie your brain into so many knots the sketchy logic employed will cease to feel important.

What encourages you to stick around is the uncommon pathos that oozes from its two exemplary leads. Hawke is his typically charming self, but it’s newcomer Snook who really dazzles, making a sharp, vulnerable presence in whatever guise she appears. It’s a breakout turn from the rising star.

Though it’s often too contemplative for its own good, Predestination entrances with its dizzying sci-fi spectacle and, crucially, has the weight and intelligence to make the most of its extraordinary premise.

Click here to watch a trailer for Predestination


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