Pre­des­ti­na­tion

Loop­ier than Looper

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Cinema - Ian Berriman

Re­lease Date: 5 De­cem­ber

15 | 95 min­utes Direc­tors: Michael and Peter Spierig Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Tay­lor, Madeleine West, Christo­pher Kirby

This time travel tale

holds lit­tle in the way of sur­prises for devo­tees of Robert Hein­lein. Based on “All You Zom­bies”, a 1958 short story by the Star­ship Troop­ers au­thor, it sticks sur­pris­ingly close to the orig­i­nal text. The main change is that it bolts on an ad­di­tional bonkers twist of its own.

For the unini­ti­ated, how­ever, it’s in­trigu­ingly un­pre­dictable. Hop­ping be­tween al­ter­nate re­al­ity ver­sions of 1945, 1963, 1975 and 1985, it mostly un­folds in the ’ 70s, as a writer of con­fes­sional tales for trashy mag­a­zines re­lates his un­be­liev­ably tragic life story to Ethan Hawke’s bar­tender. Along the way we dis­cover that he was for­merly a she… and that the bar­tender is ac­tu­ally a tem­po­ral agent out to re­cruit him. An in­creas­ingly jaw- drop­ping tale of tem­po­ral para­dox fol­lows, pre­sented with con­sid­er­able noirish pe­riod style ( one other pleas­ing tweak is that its time ma­chine is car­ried about in a vi­o­lin case).

If there’s a prob­lem, it’s that this is the sort of story which prob­a­bly works bet­ter in the more ab­stract form of prose. When brought to life by flesh and blood ac­tors, its per­verse cen­tral premise be­comes a whole lot harder to swal­low – even when the per­for­mances are as strong as they are here. Still, if there are enough peo­ple out there with a su­per­hu­man abil­ity to sus­pend dis­be­lief, Pre­des­ti­na­tion could well build a sub­stan­tial cult fol­low­ing.

Be­fore she was cast as Jane/ John, Sarah Snook en­dured an ex­ten­sive two- to- three­hour makeup test to play the male role.

The lat­est Toy Story was tak­ing a disturbing turn.

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