Everything is Connected — PREDESTINATION

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Predestination is a movie with a plot so sensitive, filled with twists, turns, and unexpected developments that even a mere superficial description of the plotline could lead one to the infamous path of spoilers.

This film’s core principle follows that of some of the best films in its congruence — “Back to the Future II,” “Looper” and so on. For a film with such a paradoxical plot, one would expect it to be complicated and tough to grasp, but Predestination does a wonderful job by playing along with the paradox till the end of the film and leaving it to the audience’s contemplation, rather than trying to forcefully explain the same.

This, playing with the paradox ensures that a single watch is sufficient to understand it. Although the output is kind of messy, it’s the messy output one could appreciate. Apart from the plot, the film impresses by inculcating era-appropriate attires, production design, and cinematography throughout the time travel sequences.

Normally in a sci-fi film, a time travel one for that matter would use a plethora of special effects and graphics to enhance the overall output and quality of the film whereas Predestination uses very minimal necessary special effects yet making sure the expected quality isn’t compromised. Hence, watching it will not let you deviate from what’s actually being conveyed. The writing-directing team of brothers Peter and Micheal Spierig have done a splendid job by bringing a Heinlein's short story, ‘All you Zombies’ to life, on which the movie is based on.

Even though the film adaptation sticks fairly close to the short story, it was written and directed in such a way that it is straightforward yet complex enough to inspire the viewers to go back for a re-watch. The script is intense with an amalgam of thought-provoking topics like fate, time travel, gender, and identity. The movie tells the brilliant and mindboggling complex story in 90 minutes without sacrificing any nuances.

THE STORY IT COULD AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN:

The Spierig brothers, also worked as visual effects supervisors in this movie while Peter Spierig composed the music. The directors decided not to alter even a tiny portion of the original story. However, they did add the Fizzle bomber and the bomb blast events.

The twin brothers revealed that Ethan Hawke was a helping hand in making the film more engaging. Ethan Hawke stated in an interview that they made sure, the screenplay was flawless, how many ever times it was watched.

It was challenging for them to find a pertinent actor for the characters of Jane and Jon. Later, they were able to find the Australian actress Sarah Snook whose role was vital in giving this sci-fi picture an emotional connection. For the character of Jon, she wore rubber sheets on her face which was sensible, rather than having facial hairs which would have marred the transition from Jane to Jon. Sarah Snook dedicated nearly 4.5 hours every morning for the portrayal of her character. Later on, the directors even called the film a ‘ Transgender Mindbender’.

The color shades chosen for each and every part of the film is distinct and has a meaning to it. Although this is not explicitly visible, it is implied to the viewers subconsciously and so the timelines were easily explained.

The level of detailing in this movie sets a whole new benchmark. For instance, during one of the starting sequences of the movie, Ethan Hawke’s character looks at a date on his watch, which specified the actor’s birthday. It is also noteworthy mentioning that at the beginning of the film, the Crosby Shoes building which was shown is actually a picture of the reactors from the Chernobyl Power Plant that exploded on April 26th, 1986.

For the continuity of the upcoming content, we had to reveal the plot. SPOILER ALERT!!!

CHARACTERS AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE:

Jane: In 1964, she gives birth to her younger self. The young Jane is kidnapped by a stranger while adult Jane was undergoing surgery. The stranger travels back to 1945(she is -20yrs old) and leaves her at the doorstep of an orphanage. She grows up to be a strong, smart but socially awkward woman. She applies for Space corp (R&R to astronauts) but gets terminated from the program soon after (fistfight). She goes to night school, dates a man (Jon-her future self), and gets pregnant before he dumps her. In 1963, Mr. Robertson calls her to space corp again but she is fired as she was pregnant. In 1964, the doctors informed her that she was born with both sets of reproductive organs, and her feminine organs were removed during her C-section and she is going to be reconstructed into a man.

Jon: After Jane’s gender reassignment, she now calls herself Jon. He applies for Space corp only to get rejected again. Jon is a lost soul, losing his daughter and wants a purpose to love his life. In 1970, at a bar, Jon narrates his life story to a bartender in a casual conversation. The bartender helps Jon to have his revenge by accompanying him to 1963, using a time travel kit. Jon finds out that it was he himself, that Jane fell in love with, and despite, knowing their ill-fated romance, he fell in love with her again. The bartender makes an illegal jump to 1970 to break the chain and kill the fizzle bomber. Jon leaves Jane behind and travels to the future (1985), where he is a temporal agent. It is revealed that he left Jane to get the job he wanted. In 1970, when he goes on a mission to find the Fizzle bomber, he botches up and sets himself on fire. The bartender sends him to 1992 where he undergoes facial reconstruction. He now looks and talks differently. He now becomes the bartender in 1992.

The bartender: The bartender goes back in time from 1992 to work in a bar. He meets Jon, hears the story, takes him to the past (1965), and leaves him there. His reason to accompany Jon is to make sure that Jon and Jane meet. Then in 1970, he helps Jon to get back to safety and in 1964, meets Mr. Robertson, kidnaps the baby, and leaves her at an orphanage in 1945. His task is to ensure that the described sequence of events happens correctly in the mentioned order. In 1965, he convinces Jon to leave Jane, tells him that they are the same person, and takes him to 1985( the year that Jon recovers and becomes a temporal agent ). He tells Mr.Robertson, that he wants to retire but is given some leads on the fizzle bomber. He travels back to 1975 to enjoy his retirement but his kit doesn’t decommission and is still usable. He uses the leads he got, to find the bomber in a laundromat.

The fizzle-bomber: In the laundromat, the bartender is shocked to find out that the fizzle bomber is his future self. The fizzle bomber pleads with the bartender to not shoot him and break the cycle but he is killed by the bartender, vowing not to become like him. As it was implied in the film, he continues to time travel (which causes psychotic effects on travelers upon continuous usage) and starts believing in the fizzle bomber’s philosophy. The fizzle bomber’s 1975 attack kills 10000 people. To prevent this catastrophe, time travel was invented in 1981.

Mr. Robertson: He is the mastermind and is the head of all temporal agents. He is responsible for preventing misuse and ensuring the smooth and intended use of the time traveler kit. He has met with the bartender, Jane, and Jon at various points of the film and is aware of the connection that these characters share. He makes everyone follow their roles and in particular wants the bartender to become the Fizzle bomber.

PENCHANT OF THE TWINS:

The predestination is a movie with a complex time travel paradox that wouldn’t have been a success without the Spiereg brothers. The story, rather than starting from the childhood of the protagonist, starts from his(technically her) adulthood, who then takes us to his past. The beauty is that the time paradox where the movie begins is not actually where the loop starts, but it is an infinite loop that shows the competence of the directors. On keen observation, we can notice that no version of the protagonist’s life is left stray. All the versions have their own life stories and how they connect to each other was beautifully portrayed. One such part is where Jon and Jane meet and get into a relationship.

“The Bartender” goes back in time to place baby Jane in an orphanage, meanwhile he illegally goes to the future to stop The Fizzle Bomber. By doing so he ends up continuing the loop. The directors connect the very first scene in this place.

When the bartender wishes to retire, he is surprised to know that his kit doesn’t decommission. This scene left the audience awestruck and paved the way for the remainder of the film. The next place where this movie proves that the directors are the apt choice for is through the character Robertson, who orchestrated everything.

So in this manner, the directors took the movie in a magnificent way from the start to the end and made the audience feel that everything was predestined.

The Spiereg Twins

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