Predestination (2014)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Predestination</strong> (2014)

(On Cable TV, July 2015) I don’t normally approve of movies changing the title of their literary origins, but considering that Robert A Heinlein’s “All you Zombies” is both an instantly-recognizable spoiler and a strikingly misleading title, let’s see the retitling of the story as Predestination as the first of the writer/director Spiering Brother’s many good decisions in adapting this seminal SF short story.  Given that the short story pack a lot of punch in a few thousand words, it’s not entirely surprising that there’s enough material here for an entire film, along with a slight but pleasing coda that brings us a bit beyond the short story without robbing it of its twisty power (and adding an extra thematic layer to it).  Part of the problem in discussing the film is in deciding how much to say – Ethan Hawke is pretty good in the lead role, but Sarah Snook is absolutely spectacular in a far more difficult role.  The film is carefully written and directed, taking place in a slightly alternate world that owes much to the fifties’ vision of the future.  Predestination’s success is even more remarkable considering that the source material couldn’t be trickier to adapt –one wrong decision, and the sheer preposterousness of the entire story would crush it lifeless.  But the result, amazingly enough, holds up –and it also holds up for those readers who know every twist and turn of the original story.

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