Before the film began, the audience was warned that it would be a mind-twisting travel through time and Predestination did not disappoint. Janet Pierson, head of SXSW Film, added that they had a number of time travel films that were part of this year’s lineup and this one had a good place in the mix. Predestination takes on a number of time travel paradoxes, but does not allow the scientific elements to obscure the storyline. It’s a thrilling time travel crime drama starring Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook.
For the first half of the film, Predestination does not seem like a time travel movie at all. It is only as we delve
deeper into the story that we discover the complex nature of the intricate storyline. From the onset, Ethan Hawke, a time traveler, is bent on stopping the elusive and extreme Fizzle Bomber who kills thousands over the course of his career. At every turn, the Fizzle Bomber manages to outsmart this temporal agent, leaving him with only a scant trail of evidence. After a disfiguring accident lands him in recovery, the time traveler learns of his final mission, to meet young man in 1975 and convince him to help with the Fizzle Bomber when the agent retires.
Hawke travels backward in time for one last shot to work as a bartender in a particularly unspectacular dive bar. Enter John (Sarah Snook), a young man looking for a drink after a hard day. The two agree on a bet: if John’s life story is not the best that the undercover bartender has ever heard, John gets a free bottle of booze. For the characters, the wager seems unexciting, but the temporal agent has a lot more riding on this than a few drinks. John Doe is not a nobody to the agent but his newest recruiting prospect. As Doe reveals the details of his past, more of the story unfolds and the audience collects the evidence to discover the truth within. Hawke and Snook make for an engaging pair and effectively move the plot forward without making it seem heavy handed. Fans of Ethan Hawke and time travel flicks will certainly enjoy this addition to the cannon.