There are few things I enjoy more than a good time travel movie, that and revisiting my early 90s crush on Ethan Hawke. So Predestination had me at hello, you could say.
Similarly to 2013’s About Time, Predestination, has kept me replaying its scenes in my mind long after the film ended. Something about the idea of being able to go back and change one’s own past is such a fascinating subject; one that intrigues audiences time and time again.
Predestination opens with the following question: “What if I could put him in front of you? The man who ruined your life? If I could guarantee you’d get away with it would you kill him?”
And with that I was captivated.
Predestination, without giving too much away, tells the story of a time-traveling Temporal Agent (Hawke) embarking on his last mission as he hopes to finally catch a man dubbed the Fizzle Bomber who he has been chasing throughout time. Stopping the Fizzle Bomber would mean saving eleven thousand lives.
Hawke travels back to Nov. 6, 1970 (Fun fact: This is Hawke’s actual birthday. That subscription to Teen Beat magazine is finally paying off!), where he is working under the guise of a bartender. Here, at the bar, we meet a patron, who after a bit of cajoling, tells the bartender, “I bet you the rest of that bottle I got the best story you ever heard.”
The first six words of that that story alone is certainly a doozy and that’s just the beginning. The patron weaves a heartbreakingly beautiful tale that is as compelling as it is thought-provoking and at once we are taken back into the past. (And then, of course, into the future and past, and so on.)
It has been interesting following Hawke’s career from my girlhood crush in Alive and Reality Bites to current hits like Sinister and The Purge. In a recent comedy bit called Celebrities Read Mean Tweets on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Hawke good-naturedly read the following Tweet about himself, “Ethan Hawke seems like a guy who wasn’t supposed to be a movie star, but he slipped through the cracks and everyone was just like, “Ok”.
I laughed watching it and again now just typing it because it’s kind of true but maybe that’s why I still like him all these years later. And he’s good in Predestination, very good. But for me, it was Sarah Snook who stole the show. Her performance was haunting, tragic and beautiful all at the same time.
As with many films depicting time travel, a second viewing is often more meaningful and Predestination is no exception. At the very least, it’s definitely worth a first glance and may just have you up at night pondering the age old question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?