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Predestination: A Man Walks Into a Bar

March 7, 2015

Predestination movie poster

A man walks into a bar……ouch.

Predestination tells the joke like this: A man walks into a bar and unloads a doozy of a story on the bartender…….Your brain hurts.

Where do I start? When you attempt to explain the plot of Predestination it leads you through a rabbit hole of moments that will undoubtedly leave the listener/reader scratching their head. The film is rife with twists and turns that demand the attention of the viewer. It is ambitious film making that expands upon Robert Heinlein’s short story All You Zombies without stretching it thin. The Australian production reunites directors Michael and Peter Spierig (Daybreakers) with Ethan Hawke and introduces the world to the wonderful Sarah Snook

You could call this a 12 Monkeys, Cloud Atlas, Primer and Looper hybrid but that would be all wrong. You could call it a deep film or simply a kiddie pool disguised as an Olympic swimming pool. The ending will either blow your mind or make you smack your forehead because you hadn’t predicted it.  To discuss the plot in length would give away too many spoilers. I will say that Predistination starts with a conversation inside a bar and builds from there.

Predestination Snook bar

The following 90 minutes packs in several lifetimes of story within one streamlined movie. It is ambitious film making that lives and dies upon the performance of Sarah Snook. Snook is able to pull off humor, despair, confidence, physicality and several hair cuts. She is incredible and you can tell she trusted the directors 100%.

Predestination Sarah Snook

What I appreciate most about Predestination is the adherence to big themes on a budget. The rumored budget was $17 million and you can see it all on-screen. The directors and production designer created multiple worlds that look believable and original. The props like the guitar case time travel machine and guns are wonderfully designed and add a neat layer to the film. The combination of location shooting and set building stretched the budget to the limit and allowed the directors to shoot various scenes while Snook went through hours of makeup. They shot in 50 different locations and somehow packed it into 32 days. I’d wager that each day pushed to 16 hours in order to achieve the ambitious film.

I love that Predestination exists. It pushes the genre boundaries and stresses performances instead of set pieces. the limited budget forced creative set design and you can see the love poured into it. I can’t wait to read the various fan theories that will undoubtedly be released.

If you’ve watched the film here is a timeline I found on reddit.

predistination chart






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