The movie “Predestination” hit the theaters since December 2014 and has been receiving contradicting comments from the public. Some people say it’s the best mind-twisting movie of all time; and some say it’s utterly silly. Who can blame them? The movie tells a story that literally challenges the boundary of our imagination, and with something as crazy as that, not everyone can come around with it. It’s clever, stunning, outrageous, dark, twisted…it’s everything unusual, which makes it a very hard story to tell.
Written and directed by the Spierig brothers, “Predestination” is an adaptation of the well-known time travel short story written by Robert A. Heinlein – “All You Zombies”. The story revolves around a center character who was a temporal agent under a secret organisation that aimed to “correct wrongdoings” with their time travelling technology. In the time of the movie, the character was about to embark on his last mission, which was to ensure his own existence by keeping his life loop going.
I can tell you that the story is one of the oddest you would come upon among all the time travel stories. The original work, which came out over half a century ago, was already a classic fantasy story known to a huge fan base. I remember reading it a few years ago when it was being passed around on the social network, being labelled as “something ridiculous but amazing”. The readers enjoyed it, but none of them really took it seriously. It was just a written story anyway.
So it’s perfectly understandable to think that a movie made out of that story would end up disastrous. Come on, a character who changed sex and traveled through time to give birth to himself? What kind of silly joke is this?! As shockingly weird as it is though, the Spierig brothers’ way of telling the story was surprisingly well done. The additional plots added to the movie gave support to the original story, making it a lot more believable and touchingly sentimental.
The details of the character’s emotions and motives in carrying out the mission were very carefully crafted, and they drew the audience into understanding the point of all the craziness that happened. The editing of the scenes, the music, and the monologues created a sequence of perfectly connected dots that led the audience to the final answer. There was nothing cumbersome in between that makes time for the audience to laugh about the nonsensical plots. It was unexpectedly emotional, heart-wrenching, and also thrilling. Simply put, it was “Oh geez”, “No way”, “What the fuck?” all the way.
I admire how the movie has put enormous focus on the emotional activities of the character, because that was the most important thing in the story that engaged us into believing it. The phenomenal performance of actors Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook was undoubtedly a big part to the movie’s success.
It’s reasonable to say that the Spierig brothers have managed to package the story into something a lot more serious and favorable. With their sophisticated movie techniques, the directors have gracefully “deceived” their audience and had their minds blown. Of course there were still questions left unanswered in the plots, and plenty of possibilities that the events weren’t really that ‘inevitable’, but technically speaking, the outcome was a remarkable work.
And I LOVE the ending monologue.