The trouble with describing Predestination is that no matter what you say, you risk spoilers.
Even if you warn that it has several twists, you have probably said too much, as readers will start second-guessing the story – a problem that M Night Shyamalan could tell you about.
Based on Robert Heinlein’s classic 1958 short story, All You Zombies, and expanded on by twin brothers Peter and Michael Spierig – who previously wrote and directed the zombie flicks Undead (a comedy) and Daybreakers (sci-fi) – perhaps the first surprise about Predestination is that it’s not about zombies.
Instead, it’s a head-trippy time travel story, which begins with a futuristic fight scene, then shifts to a film-noir bar in the Seventies, in which an unnamed ‘temporal agent’ (Ethan Hawke) now works, for mysterious reasons, as a bartender.
This is a relatively low-budget Australian film, convincingly disguised as a Hollywood blockbuster. The story is vintage Heinlein, and the Spierig Brothers’ direction is polished, with the right balance of mystery and action.
This is no small achievement, as much of it is a life story, revealed to the bartender by the Unmarried Mother (Sarah Snook, rising Aussie star and Emma Stone lookalike).
Without revealing too much, Snook has a very challenging and multi-faceted role, and though her performance isn’t quite incredible enough to avoid spoiling first big twist (which, fortunately, comes very early), she is excellent.
The Spierigs obviously revelled in creating their own, Sixties-inspired, pseudo-futuristic world, which was not even touched upon by Heinlein in his short story (reportedly written in a single day).
A new character, played by Noah Taylor (a versatile actor, so don’t expect Locke from Game Of Thrones or any of his former roles), is introduced as… once again, it would be saying too much. Just see it before social media ruins it for you.