The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.


PredestinationTitle: Predestination (2015)
Director: The Spierig Brothers
Runtime: 97minutes

Acting
It felt like Ethan Hawke went away for a while. He didn’t, really, but I wasn’t coming across movies that starred the actor for a while. Then Sinister came out, and I was quickly reminded how strong of a talent the man is. Shortly after that, The Purge came out, which I absolutely loved, and found Hawke to be great. I haven’t gotten to see Boyhood yet, but I hear he is excellent in that as well. Point being, Ethan Hawke is a wonderful, and underrated actor. Predestination further cements that claim as he is truly excellent here. His ability to bring honesty and sincerity to this role is what helps make the movie stand out in the crowd of time travel films. His co-star, though, is what makes Predestination worth watching. I didn’t know the name Sarah Snook until I watched this film, but I will now try to seek out the rest of her budding filmography (her biggest credit to date, aside from this film, looks to be the recently released horror film Jessabelle). I don’t want to give anything away, but the way she handles her character’s emotional and physical transformation is award worthy. I cannot wait to see Snook become the star that she deserves to be.

Story & Script
Predestination is one of the films that those who have watched talk about in hushed tones with each other to make sure the ones that haven’t taken this ride don’t hear anything that will ruin the experience for them. This is the story of a Temporal Agent that jumps through time to try to catch the criminal that has alluded him his whole life. I really don’t want to say any more than that for fear of ruining the potentially incredible experience one could have with the film. This is a time travel movie, but is so much more than that. We learn the stories of these character’s lives, and that is what makes Predestination so remarkable. I adore the script and the plot is structured brilliantly. Predestination absolutely blew my mind in all the right ways.

Direction
The Spierig Brothers are two for two on films that I have had the pleasure of watching. The other film I watched of theirs was Daybreak, one of the most genuinely unique vampire flicks I have ever seen. It’s a great film. The only feature I’ve missed is Undead, but I will be remedying that in the next week or so because these twin brothers have a knack for delivering unique visions of the future, the past, and the present, and I’m guessing Undead will be a treat as well. I hope these brothers get a ton more work in the future because from here on out, if I see their name, I will be in theatres on day one. In Predestination, the brothers do a marvelous job of giving away just enough information to keep the viewer guessing from start to finish. This film opens like an action film, then slows down for the first 45 minutes or so, and then picks up the action again and delivers you an ending of epic proportions, not because of explosions, but because of how they tie it all up. They’ve nailed the time travel film, which is no easy feat.

Intangibles
It’s great to see the focus of the film remain on Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook instead of trying to explain how or why the time travel works. The film is better off leaving this ambiguous because it is not really about that anyway. I admire the way the Spierig Brothers so expertly handled a time travel flick in only their third feature film. The other big aspect of the film that I loved is how easily and believably the movie lived in its chosen decades. I was shocked to see that this relatively small film was trying to build a 1970s New York City, and even more surprised to see how effectively they pulled it off. The Spierig Brothers keep things small, intimate, and personal, which is exactly why Predestination works so well.

Rewatchability
I will absolutely watch this film again. It needs multiple viewings, I imagine, to completely wrap one’s head around the film’s story.

The Verdict
Predestination is a mind blowing film. I absolutely loved every minute of my time with these characters. Do not expect an action film, though, as this is more of a personal drama that includes time travel and some action elements than anything else. It’s a damn shame that this film is flying so far under the radar because it is one of the best film I’ve seen this year. I highly, highly recommend seeking it out.

three_and_a_half_stars

Branden Chowen
Editor-in-Chief at Cinefessions

Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.