To write up a spoiler-free plot of Predestination is literally impossible. There is no possible way to describe the plot of this film without giving away practically all the twists and turns. In fact, plot is nothing more than mere fragment of this epic and preposterous, multi-genred, time travelling masterpiece. All I can really say about it is that it follows the story of an unnamed bartender (Ethan Hawke) who's assigned one final mission to complete. That's all there is to say, no more no less.
Predestination is unlike any sci-fi film you've seen before. Again, I can't really get into any details as to why it's like this, but it is. The film is so many different things all at once, sci-fi being one of the smaller attributes in this film of epic proportions. Time travel is always a subject matter that plays with people's minds. It's a topic that's impossible to digest and nearly always leaves the viewer with a new sensation floating around in their stomach. Predestination is one of these films. It left me distraught, and even lost for words. On one hand, Predestination is a successful experiment, and on the other it's a hard-hitting mind bender with nothing done by chance. Both of these answers are correct.
Obviously, the performances are incredible. Ethan Hawke gives a masterclass performance, but that's almost always expected from an actor of such high charisma and talent. The other lead, and arguably the more important of the two characters, is played by Sarah Snook. She's not new to the big screen, but she's new to most audiences, or at least those who haven't seen 2011's Sleeping Beauty or 2012's Not Suitable for Children. She boasts with talent in Predestination, this talent only expanding as the film goes on. Her performance can vary from heart break to redeeming within the space of a few minutes, and the execution is flawless. The progression of her character relies solely on her performance, and she fails to muck it up.
Predestination is a film that appears reasonable whilst watching, but comes across superficial after hours of thought. It's been nearly a day since my screening and I've been really struggling to put words to paper, or in my case computer. It's also a film I doubt that I'll stop thinking about for the rest of my life. As it goes on, I felt as if I was almost a step in front of it. I could sense where it was heading, but not from a long shot. I was only able to predict the events of the next few minutes, but it's not shocks that this film is seeking from us. It's deeper than that, but again I'm unable to discuss it.
To sum up, Predestination is an epic and preposterous, time travelling masterpiece, held tightly by stunning performances from Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook. It's a mind bender that's impossible to stop discussing, but I don't want to either.
4 1/2 Stars