The World, or should I say Timeline, of Predestination is not our own. There are slight differences when certain historical events take place and how advanced technology is, but the primary difference, at least as it pertains to this film, is that a string of terrorist bombings occurred in the mid 1970's all leading up to a massive explosion that left hundreds dead.
Ethan Hawke's character, The Barkeep, belongs to an agency that travels through time attempting to prevent certain events. His particular job is to stop the Fizzle Bomber. When the film starts, he is seen disarming a bomb, only to have it blow up in his face requiring drastic reconstructive surgery. It seems his time at the agency is drawing to a close and he must find his replacement.
His first stop on his last few rounds of missions is to take on the role of a bartender in order to have a conversation with a rather unique individual. This person, known as The Unmarried Mother (Sarah Snook), is a writer for magazines under the aforementioned pseudonym. When Hawke's character coaxes Snook to tell his life story, he starts off with "When I was a young girl." Mind you, given the time this story takes place (around 1975), sex change operations are a rare and shocking event.
Snook's character tells Hawke his/her life story about a girl who grew up in an orphanage with a dream of going to space. She had a single love in her life, and that man left her alone and pregnant without cause or reason. It is here that Hawke reveals his true occupation and proposes The Unmarried Mother follow him through time.
Unfortunately, going much further in Predestination's plot delves into spoiler territory. I will say that the story that unfolds is a web of interconnected events that all make sense in the end, but will most likely leave you and your fellow movie-watchers talking.
Both Hawke and the mostly unknown Snook are great in their roles. Snook does a great job of portraying both her young female self and her older male role as her life's story is told. I will say though that, while the makeup was good, Snook's first appearance as the man at the bar looks like a woman attempting to look like a man. Oddly enough, she reminded us a lot of Leonardo DiCaprio in appearance. That being said, Snook and Hawke worked well together and were able to pull off a dialogue-heavy film.
Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones) plays a small, but important role in the film as Mr. Robertson, the head of the Temporal Agency, and a man who apparently has had a lot of influence in both The Bartender's and, surprisingly, The Unmarried Mother's, life.
The Blu-ray release of Predestination comes with an amusing bloopers reel, and an all out 75 minute documentary about the film's production from start to finish. When I say start to finish, I mean it. The documentary begins with the search for a story to tell and the decision to go with Heinlein's short story, all the way through a segment from each week of filming, through the final edits. There is also a featurette that feels more like the highlights of the longer documentary.
Predestination is most definitely not for everyone. This is not a popcorn time-traveling flick like Back to the Future or Timecop. This one is heady and will make you think, second guess your thoughts, make you get a little confused about what is happening, and seriously question when certain events actually occur. If that doesn't interest you in the slightest, then don't bother with this film. If it does though, go into this movie expecting an indie feel with good bones and a lot of talking.