Overview: Wielding a time travel device, a man jumps in between time to stop a serial bomber. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions; 2015; Rated R; 98 minutes.
Zombie-less: I share all of the reactions my fellow Contributor Katherine had in her Will It Make A Good Film: All You Zombies piece, and I could not agree more with Michael and Peter Spierig’s decision to rename the film Predestination. I am most likely one of those zombie enthusiasts she pointed out. In all of the movie adaptations spawned from books, I have not seen a movie that reflects the original story as smoothly as this one. I did it backwards and read Heinlein’s work after having my mind stretched and contorted; I literally have a headache as I write this. The word itself, predestination, is relevant on two fronts: the biology of “The Unmarried Woman” and the basis of time travel, recursive and forever interlocked.
Simplistically Satisfying: When I hear “time machine”, I imagine elaborate and grand devices composed of intricate gears with steampunk elements or an upright vessel of stainless steel metal and glass enclosing numerous lasers to send the occupant into another time. Not a distressed violin case. One of the most visually appealing aspects of this film is the lack of visual effects. Today’s level of computer generated graphics could have easily supplied the Spierig brothers with an impressive transition as the Temporal agent jumped from one decade to another. Their attentiveness to not incorporate unnecessary optic enhancements is uncharacteristic of other science fiction movies. They keep to the bare minimum
The R-Rating: My only disagreement with the entire film is the rating, cited for “violence, some sexuality, nudity and language.” At most, Predestination is a PG-13 film. The language is not overly harsh (I have heard worse on public radio), no full frontal nudity, and no gore-filled scenes. Yes, the scene following the explosion of the bomber’s implanted device when the Temporal Agent’s face is shown melting into a disintegrative state is gruesome. Yes, the two time leapers of this film possess handguns. And yes, (be warned, minor spoiler ahead) the topic of a hermaphrodite individual is a core component as the entire bloodline to the film. However, the aforementioned scene is not harsh enough to look away from and the rare times handguns are used do not display a massacred grave. The only potential issue in granting a PG-13 rating is the sexuality factor. To this I say, shame on you Motion Picture Association of America, for filtering out a film that might initiate open conversations about transgenders and sexuality.
Final Thoughts: Predestination is a mind-bending trip, full of bewildering points, delivering Heinlein’s original tale without unnecessary story arc detours.