PREDESTINATION. Lots of surprises and the phenomenal Sarah Snook

Sarah Snook steals the screen; she is downright phenomenal.

Jakub Piwoński

15 June 2023

Ouroboros, the ancient Egyptian image of a snake eating its own tail, conceals the concept of eternal return. By it is meant that time is an eternally repeating cycle of birth and death. Culture, also popular, liked this motif and processed it many times. I see him in science fiction content – in particular those under the sign of time travel, initiated by the famous Time Machine by Herbert G. Wells. Their notable representation is Predestination by the Spierg brothers.

In time travel movies I often feel like I am in a maze. I find myself poorly in the logic of time paradoxes, clearly resisting the possibilities of my imagination. But I do not see this as a flaw in the movies, but rather subjective limitations. Ever since Back to the Future, and when, as a younger viewer, I finally understood why Marty’s siblings are disappearing from the family photo, I’ve come to sympathize with this peculiar kind of science fiction to a high degree. These films, apart from the fact that they usually operate on three time lines – past, present and future – can also provide a lot of fun when looking for the right interpretive clues. Their creators want to make it much more difficult for the recipients to locate the beginning and the end of the snake.

The theme of Predestination by the Spierg brothers is not too different from its predecessors playing with the theme of time travel. We meet a spy who, as a member of a special government agency responsible for preventing future crimes, is sent into the past. He is supposed to find and neutralize a dangerous criminal before he actually becomes one. Although at this stage it is difficult to get lost in the plot – after all, it sounds like a description of the new Timecop – the Spierg brothers made sure to complicate its development as much as possible.


The main role was played by Ethan Hawke – known, although still underestimated – but it is not him who remains in the center of the viewer’s attention during the screening. His partner Sarah Snook steals the screen; she is downright phenomenal. She had a difficult task to perform, which not every actress could do – she had to play a man. And not in a mocking way, not in a way that only imitates the characteristics of the opposite sex for the sake of a single scene. Due to the legitimate fact of the plot, she simply had to become a man, and convincingly so. I don’t know about you, but in the “bar scene” (surprisingly conducted) I wondered for a long time what gender the person I was looking at was. In my opinion, evoking – even if only temporary – such doubts is enough to recommend this creation.

The reviewer’s reliability does not allow me to reveal the veil of secrecy regarding the plot solutions used by the creators (the only clue remains the symbolism of ouroboros). This is one of those movies where the less said about it, the better. It should be emphasized, however, that the whole power of Predestination is based on an extremely surprising ending, which, importantly, could not be predicted in any way. To use cinephile colloquialism, what we are dealing with is a classic mindfuck that decides to cause a jaw-dropping shock effect.

I’m not exaggerating: for some time now I’ve been sensitive to film plot twists, which I feel are overdone, because firstly, they are poorly accentuated, secondly, because their resolution is usually predictable. Predestinationset the bar higher, and with its finale it emphasized the overtone of the whole lost in space-time investigations. However, I would beware of adding to it an ideology greater than the one aimed at providing the viewer with pure fun from a screening full of surprises.

Jakub Piwoński

Jakub Piwoński

Cultural expert, passionate about popular culture, in particular films, series, computer games and comics. He likes to fly away to unknown, fantastic regions, thanks to his fascination with science fiction. Professionally, however, he looks back more often, thanks to his work as a museum promotion specialist, investigating the mysteries of the beginnings of cinematography. His favorite film is "The Matrix", because it combines two areas close to his heart - religion and martial arts.

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