Mobius Strip

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Title: Predestination

Rating: 4 Stars

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This question is asked in the movie, and ultimately, is its theme.

This is the plot:

  • A child is abandoned at an orphanage
  • The child grows up to become a young woman
  • The young woman (Jane) meets a man and they fall in love
  • The man disappears, and the woman later discovers herself to be pregnant
  • The woman gives birth and the child is later snatched
  • As she’s giving birth, the doctors discover that she’s an hermaphrodite
  • Due to her difficult birth, the doctors begin to transition her to a man (John)
  • Now a man, John tells his story to a bartender
  • As they are talking, there are television reports of a bomber known as the fizzle bomber

Kind of a complicated plot, but survivable right?

OK, now factor in that every single character that is mentioned above is the same person. I’m not talking a clone. I’m talking literally one time traveling human being that makes all of this happen.

The child abandoned is the snatched child. The transitioned man time travels to meet and fall in love with the pre-transitioned woman, and they get pregnant. The transitioned man becomes horribly burned and is given facial reconstructive surgery and becomes the bartender. The bartender later meets and kills the fizzle bomber.

The mother, the father, the child, the bartender, and the bomber, all the same person. From a time travel perspective, it’s a perfectly closed loop. Within this loop, the person is born and the person dies.

Is your mind fucked yet?

This is really a very intelligent movie or an incredibly silly movie, probably depending upon how much alcohol is in your blood stream.

First of all, the title, predestination.This is the Christian ideology that all actions are preordained by God (think Calvinism). Within this closed loop, all must occur exactly as transpires. If any action does not happen, then the loop closes within itself. There are references throughout the movie regarding how much free will actually exists. Within this world, there is none.

Even in a movie as carefully constructed as this, there are holes:

  • Once Jane transitions to John, she looks into the mirror. In that mirror, wouldn’t Jane recognize her long lost lover John?
  • The bartender kills the Fizzle Bomber at a dry cleaner. Wouldn’t the bomber know that the bartender is there at that precise moment (since he presumably killed the Fizzle Bomber himself when he was the bartender)?

I could go on. There are multiple pages out there that discuss the paradoxes / time line explanations. The fact that I’m obsessing over this movie 24 hours after I’ve seen it is a pretty good sign that it’s a good, totally unexpected movie that left me delightfully surprised.

 

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