R Dir: The Spierig Brothers | Sony | 1h 37min
Plot: What’s it about?
A few years ago I got and reviewed a movie called Daybreakers. It starred Ethan Hawke. I’d not really heard of the rest of the cast other than Sam Neill. After looking at the back of the box I saw it was a “vampire” movie and, after rolling my eyes, figured I’d still give it a shot. As it turned out, I really enjoyed the film and for whatever reason I didn’t seem to put pen to paper and actually review it for the site. Odd. In much the same way that vampire movies have become overdone, I found Daybreakers to be a refreshing change of pace from the typical vampire movie. Flash forward, pun fully intended, a few years and we now have Hawke at the center of the movie universe with his work in Boyhood and he’s nominated for another Academy Award. That film aside, he’s reunited with The Spierig Brothers for another project, this one dealing with time travel, paradoxes and everything in between. Is it along the same lines as their former collaboration? No, it’s quite better.
Hawke plays a character only known as “The Barkeep” as he’s, well, a bartender of sorts. He’s actually from the future, has no family or friends and it’s his job to go back in time to prevent certain things from happening. Obviously with any movie about time, there’ll be plot holes, but we’ll give this the benefit of the doubt. The Barkeep finds himself in 1970 on the lookout for a mysterious criminal known as the “Fizzle Bomber.” While tending bar, he meets a woman (who he believes to be a man – Sarah Snook) who regales him with the story of her life. He lets her in on his little secret and the two go off to try and change the course of time.
Now there’s more to it than that, of course, but to give anything more away would ruin the movie and I don’t want to do that. I will say that the film is full of paradoxes, but it’s smart, sophisticated and well-acted and it really made me think. As cool as time travel would be, I think we’d end up eliminating the human race if we ever figured out how to do it. Still, this is one of the central themes of the film and it’s handled very well. Hawke and Snook are the two mainstays of the film and it essentially revolves around them. They work well off one another and really make the movie work. I also look at a film like Interstellar, which I’ve yet to see, and see the budget in the hundreds of millions of dollars and compare it with something like this. A matter of perspective I suppose, but it’s amazing what you can accomplish with a little ingenuity – and The Spierig Brothers seemed to have grasped this concept. Recommended.
Video: How’s it look?
Oddly enough, I’d just re-watched Gattaca a few weeks ago and it too starred Hawke and was set in the future (though it took place there, while this movie only sparingly uses it as a stage). Sony’s 2.40:1 AVC HD presentation looks the part and the future (or past, as the case may be) has never looked so good. Detail is razor sharp, showcasing the forehead wrinkles that now adorn Mr. Hawke’s face, the texture in his hair is contrasted by the porcelain skin of Sarah Snook. The film has a very silky, serene and film like look and feel to it. It’s what we’ve come to expect from a new to Blu-ray film and this is just about as perfect as it gets.
Audio: How’s it sound?
I’ve got to say that I was fairly impressed by the DTS HD Master Audio track. By and large, the movie is dialogue-driven, but there are an assortment of scenes that really stand out and made it worth noting. Vocals are rich and pure, Hawke’s gritty and raspy voice take front and center (in every sense of the word), but the mix has a refinement about it that makes some very subtle, yet noticeable, chirps here and there. Surrounds come into play during a few key sequences, but the front stage takes the majority of the soundtrack and does a fine job with it. This is a nice, solid and surprisingly well-endowed mix that’s sure to please.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- A Journey Through Time – A very brief featurette with some interviews with the cast and crew about the film, its theme and the like.
- All You Zombies: Bringing Predestination to Life – This 11 part featurette is the embodiment of the supplemental material and essentially covers everything from Pre-Production to Casting to Post-Production.
Introduction – A general overview as to what’s going to be covered.
Casting- The Spierig Brothers, having previously worked with Hawke on Daybreakers, had the lead role down, but it was finding the supporting cast that was to be the issue.
Pre-Production – Preparation for the shoot, the locale and so forth.
Principal Photography Week 1
Principal Photography Week 2
Principal Photography Week 3
Principal Photography Week 4
Principal Photography Week 5
Principal Photography Week 6
Post Production – Adding some of the special effects and polishing it up a bit.