"Logic is thrown out of the window and absurdity is embraced"

Predestination is a film rife with plot holes. In fact, the dips into improbability are so frequent that they really should be a massive issue. However, what saves this is its incredible pace which has viewers holding on and ignoring said holes in a bid to keep up with the time travelling escapade.

The film follows a temporal agent (Ethan Hawke) at the end of his career as he sets things into place before he’s decommissioned. His last official mission is as follows: enlist new recruit, John (Sarah Snook). His personal mission: stop the one criminal who has eluded him his entire career, The Fizzle Bomber. 

Logic is thrown out of the window and absurdity is embraced in order to tell, what John sets up as, “the best story you ever heard”. It is a colourful tale that seems to have it all: abandonment, heartbreak, a brief stint in a programme for aspiring space courtesans and, a bit of gender bending a la Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.

Michael and Peter Spierig (The film’s directing/writing duo) have quite inventively adapted Robert A. Heinlein’s short story All You Zombies. They’ve fleshed it out and littered it with subtle grenades that all go off in a cascade of ‘aha!’ moments towards the climax. Waiting for these moments of clarity, after a boggling amount of twists and turns, is what keeps you gripped. However, what is most successful is the brothers’ visual interpretation; the costume design really stands out, in particular 1960s Jane in wonderful Jetsons-esque training uniform. The set design and lighting is also quite stunning.

While the plot is held aloft somewhat by pace and smooth design, there are a few issues that are left unresolved by the end, which is frustrating -- this is not a neat package by any means.

Predestination is a film that broaches identity and gender in a messy way. The problems of moving from a woman’s existence to a man’s are weakly explained; done in a way I can only assume is an effort to maintain pace and avoid further complication. In addition to the ride being over, these glaring holes can’t go unnoticed.

Changing the very fabric of time must have a bigger effect than suggested, right? You can’t just do that… can you? Well, if our cinematic time travel education has taught us anything, it’s that there are consequences – almost always dire ones – to messing with the past. Causality is an issue; it’s ironic that films about origin and destiny don’t quite grasp that. Thus, you leave the cinema unable to ignore the film’s paradoxes, although it won’t be until you leave the cinema that these issues actually hit, again, because of the pace that sucks you in.

If you demand logic from your cinema experience, then this is not the one for you. However, if you are open to the wonderful knottiness of time travelling sci-fi, then you’ll no doubt enjoy it.
Predestination is an enjoyable mind trip… Well, it is if you let it.