Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Film Review and Ending Intepretation: Predestination

Copyright: Sony Pictures
My first association to Predestination was the movie Time Cop. Now, after I saw it, I feel like one of those people who, after hearing the word “Mars”, immediately things about the candy bar, not the planet. In the same fashion, Predestination has almost nothing to do with time cops running around the past busting crime before it happens.

Instead, it talks about personal growth and change in the setting that disposed of all the regular constraints of both time and matter. Michael and Peter Spierig, signed under the name of Spierig Brothers, made this film five years after their list project, Daybreakers, which didn’t impress me too much, mostly because of the bland characters it featured. Now, they are again experimenting with core science fiction ideas (Daybreakers was more about Sci-Fi than horror) but with a lot more success.

In their new story, based on a Robert A. Heinlein short piece, an agent working for a time traveling anti-crime organization hunts a man called the Fizzle bomber who continues to evade time alterations and manages to blow up more than 11,000 people in New York in 1975. The agent, known only as the Bartender, meets a man one night in a bar where he is working, and the man tells him he will tell him the most incredible tale in the world.

The really cool thing about Predestination is the fact that it drives home the issue of personal possibilities that arise from one of the most basic time travel paradoxes, all the way into the very natural but still very weird waters. All gimmicks are developed so that they seem very minimal both in visual and narrative terms, so no one should expect Time Machine level of CGI grandeur. After seeing it, I had the feeling that the complete process remained logical and predictable, which makes this film is without a doubt a pioneer in time travel genre. This fact alone is a pretty bold thing to do in today’s movie market.

The only visible down side to this is the fact that Predestination movie might see predictable in general when it is perceived and experienced as a thriller. But, Spierig Brothers managed to harness that wind of predictability and instead of fighting it, use it to fill their sails. This made the film more similar to a mystery drama than a time travel action-adventure, and the main actress Sarah Snook should be commended for the way she delivered an extremely unique role.

In this Predestination review I wouldn’t stand against interpreting this film as an adventure, but I would have to call it a one that carries the viewer into the realm of personal self and the things what truly defines it.

Predestination Movie Ending Explained

Spoiler Alert

To understand Predestination and its ending, it is important to look at the passing of time in the film as a continuous development that never really begins or ends. Instead, it has a continuous cycle. At the end of this cycle, the character of the Bartender finally chases down the Fizzle bomber in the laundromat. He realizes the he is in fact him from the future, and who somehow became certain that killing people would further diminish crime. The Fizzle bomber tries to stop the Bartender from killing him by saying that this already happened, and that the only way to break the cycle is to learn to love him. The Bartender decides not to heed his advice and kills him. He then returns home in his present year of 1975.

But, his time travel briefcase didn’t decommissioned properly, and it is implied that Robertson rigged it so that it didn’t because he needs the paradox to continue. The Bartender, alone and broken, gradually decides to start to use the briefcase because he misses the past versions of himself too much. This leads to him slowly slips into psychosis (which is a side effect of uncontrolled time travel). Because of this impact of time travel, he loses his mind and slowly becomes the Fizzle bomber (aided by his knowledge of chemistry and physics from his youth), completing the circle.

The entire cycle is continuously supported by Robertson as a means of assuring that the entire paradox continues to function.