For Reel

Predestination (2014)
February 29, 2016, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Director(s): Peter & Michael Spierig
3.5 Stars
PredestinationAdapting a short story from Robert A. Heinlein, Predestination brings the conceit of time travel into a neo-noir setting, established by dingy bars where regrets have piled up as high as the ashes in the trays. The best of these sad characters has several names, but in print he goes by The Unmarried Mother (Sarah Snook), the successful author of cheap pulp stories. He, as all characters in a noir do, has a story to tell, beginning with the fact that he was born a woman. It’s radical for a film like this one to deal earnestly with gender identity–in some moments, the picture feels more empathetic and understanding of the plight of its characters than the Oscar-baiting The Danish Girl. The character’s complex history seems taken from a Pedro Almodóvar or even David Cronenberg film (involving the discovery that one has been betrayed by their body), and similarly he spends the picture crippled by resentments and a history that has been plagued by a lack of resolution. In many ways, the film’s great theme is this very absence of resolution–to plunge deeper into exploring oneself only leads to dead ends and (as this is a time travel film) temporal paradoxes. The film’s twists are predictable and revealed in an all too familiar way (using fast-paced music and flashbacks to key lines of dialogue), but the journey getting there involves an enlivening flashback structure that really works both as a narrative and as a demonstration of its themes.