Movie Review - Predestination
Oscar-nominee Ethan Hawke (Boyhood and Before Midnight) stars as an unnamed person who is revealed to have been given a new face after losing his when he's burned in an attack. He's burned after chasing a terrorist known as the "fizzle bomber." At first, it's assumed that he's a FBI agent or something, but he's actually revealed to be an agent for a group that are time travelers.
Hawke's character can travel through time by way of configuring a violin case that he carries. It's not revealed that he's a time traveler until after he has a long conversation with a woman he meets at a bar in the 1970's. Hawke's character poses as a bartender and chats up a woman named Jane, played by Sarah Snook.
At first, Hawke's character assumes Jane to be a man. He seems surprised to learn Jane is a woman, or at least she used to be a woman. The long conversation involves Jane explaining that she was raised as a girl. She tells a great story of how she was a backyard brawler and applied to be an astronaut but faced a lot of sexism. She also tells of how she fell in love with a mysterious man who disappeared but not before getting her pregnant.
After giving birth, the doctors tell her she's technically a hermaphrodite who was mostly female, but the birth ruined her female parts, so the doctors had to reconstruct her with her boy parts. She's then told that she has to become a transsexual and transition into a man completely.
Much like in Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In, this movie involves a transsexual, but most transsexual people want to transition. In this movie, Jane doesn't want to transition, and it's ultimately depicted as a sad and painful experience, which is not the experience of actual transsexual or transgendered people who undergo the change. For this film to portray it as a sad and painful experience is somewhat offensive, I would assume.
Once Jane realizes Hawke's character is a time traveler, she goes back in time with him. It's then revealed that Jane is the mysterious man whom got her pregnant years ago. Yes, thanks to time travel, this movie is about a woman who impregnates herself. Her future self who transitions into a man has sex with her past self as a woman. Not only that, it's about how Jane falls in love with herself, so this film is not only masturbatory but it's also rather narcissistic, all without ever showing a single sex scene.
The mystery of who the fizzle bomber is and who Jane's baby turns out to be is then easily grasped. When the mystery is uncovered, it's ultimately stupid. There is an interesting premise here in what happens to Jane regarding the sexism she experiences and how that might be different if she transitioned, or even the idea of falling in love with oneself or trying to kill oneself, but it's all just offensively and idiotically done.
One Star out of Five.
Rated R for violence, some sexuality, nudity and language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 37 mins.