The concept of time travel is one thing. Entrusting time travel, and the fate of the world, to Ethan Hawke, really seems like quite another. But here we are, with Ethan Hawke: Time Cop keeping us safe from the world’s ills while we sit pretty in whatever linear concept of time and space we think actually exists. How foolish we’ve been this whole time.
Fresh off his oft praised turn as the dadliest of dads in Boyhood, Hawke is trying his hand at sci-fi with Predestination, a film written and directed by Michael and Peter Spierig (his second collaboration with the Spierig Brothers after 2009’s Daybreakers) that answers the questions: is Ethan Hawke the hero we need right now, and is he the one we deserve? The premise for the film, laid out in the first trailer, is simple, but it doesn’t make any of the details any less dazzling. Hawke is a temporal agent, a time traveling arm of the law who leaps back and forth between decades stopping crimes before they are even committed. His main mission is to stop the terroristic reign of the so-called Fizzle Bomber, which if we’re being honest, sounds like a spectacular new rocket-shaped popsicle that you can get from your local ice cream truck.
But tracking the Fizzle Bomber across time is dangerous stuff; the agent has to keep coming up with new identities to hide behind — one snippet shows him as a bartender in a smokey room, transporting his lone customer back in time with him to the next location where the bomber won’t attack. He seems to be unsuccessful at least once, if the shot of a man (we later learn is the agent) head wrapped tightly in bandages is any indication. The customer becomes his protégé, going through a rigorous, futuristic training process to earn the same time travel credentials as our fedora-rocking protagonist.
The trailer is a beautiful mix of 1970s grunge, and that perky faux futuristic enamel of the oh-so modern 1960s inside the training center, with its rows and rows of girls in their blue mod dresses, fighting against the normalcy of the outside world, where brown shoes trample brown leaves in front of brown buildings. As temporal agents, Hawke and his young protégé get to see firsthand how the world changes around them, and how their actions morph the world just the same. Stopping the Fizzle Bomber is the objective, but extinguishing one of his blasts likely changes another facet of that era, or something about the future; this is time travel 101.
Check out the trailer below:
This is one to look out for — our own Rob Hunter reviewed the film when it hit SXSW earlier this year, and said “a few caveats aside, it’s one of the most dramatically thrilling and emotionally satisfying time-travel movies of the past several years.” It was also one of our 8 Best Films of SXSW 2014.
Predestination is in theaters August 28th.