Predestination (2014)

Anthony G Williams

Apr 18, 2007
The Australian film Predestination was not what I had expected. I had vaguely thought it was an action movie about time-travelling agents, but it turned out to be something much more subtle and complex than that, with very little action. It is based on Heinlein's short story "-All You Zombies-", which I don't remember reading. The plot did however remind me of another short story by the same author, By His Bootstraps, which is explained by the fact that AYZ is reportedly a kind of developed version of the ideas in BHB. It also reminded me of the more recent film Looper, reviewed on this blog in Febrary 2013.

Predestination is the kind of film which it is very difficult to write about without spoilers. So I will just say that it involves a whole layer-cake of time-travel paradoxes piling on each other, with scenes sometimes replayed from different viewpoints to reveal entirely different perspectives on events. It is clever and absorbing, but you have to be on your mental toes to keep up. The downside is that this is yet another film which demonstrates that single-timeline time-travel is really not possible for practical (as opposed to technological) reasons. I enjoyed the gradual revelation of what was actually going on, but at the end was left feeling "but that's completely impossible!", even though each individual element seemed logical (sort of). Despite this, if you like this kind of puzzle, watch the film!

(An extract from my SFF blog: Science Fiction & Fantasy)
Yeah, it was one of my favourite movies of the last few years. I started watching it on a plane, knowing nothing about it other than the description given, and only realized about half-way through that it was based on the Heinlein story (which I'd never read, but heard of). I found it was better the second and third time I watched it, because there are a lot of details you don't pick up the first time, if you don't know the story in advance.
Predestination is a brilliant movie and a definite surprise for those who take the time to watch it.

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