Hawke plays ‘The Bartender’ (no prizes for guessing his vocation), who becomes engrossed in the remarkable story of lonesome customer, and part-time journalist/agony aunt ‘The Unmarried Woman’ (Sarah Snook), who recounts a troubled, tumultuous past, hoping to impress enough to win a promised bottle of whiskey, if the story is the best the bartender has ever heard. However he has a few tales of his own – as the time-travelling Temporal Agent is on a classified mission, to find and eliminate a notorious criminal who has evaded capture across decades – as the two characters and their conflicting stories become mercifully intertwined.
For use of a better expression – and better language – Predestination is a mind-fuck of a movie. The German-born, Australian filmmakers (and brothers) Michael and Peter Spierig, should be commended for this immensely ambitious movie, as one that won’t leave you for a while, as you’re left, for days, still piecing it all together in your head. Time travelling movies can often be flawed to say the least and even the seemingly more accomplished, bigger-budget productions such as Looper and Edge of Tomorrow have questionable concepts and certain aspects to the narrative which simply don’t add up – yet Predestination is surprisingly intelligent and creatively comprised, as a truly thought-provoking endeavour.
Depending on which way you look at it, the cheap, network-TV approach can be described as being somewhat charming, as a film that is affectionately conventional in that regard and plays up to the tropes of the genre at hand. However you couldn’t be blamed for perceiving it as being detrimental to proceedings, devaluing the narrative with its sub-standard visual experience.
The Spierig Brothers revel in the trashy aspect of the piece though, as a film that grows so absurd and so completely illusory in parts, that you almost need this aesthetic and overall atmosphere to let the picture off the hook. Had it been any more sincere or stony-faced it simply wouldn’t work, instead thriving in the frivolity of it all. Similarly to the columns written by the ‘Unmarried Mother’, this is intentionally unabashed baloney, and you really wouldn’t want it any other way.