Ok, this is an unusual one, so let’s start with two plot descriptions.
Here’s the official one:
“The life of a time-traveling Temporal Agent. On his last assignment, he must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.”
And here is the honest one:
“this is a film that explains what the theory of a predestination paradox is, without any regard for logical flaws whatsoever”
Have you seen the movie “looper”? did you think to yourself: “oh my, I like me this film, but it is way too logical and conclusive and I would for sure like it to be 1000x times more pretentious, so I could tell people who don’t like it and/or disagree with it’s flaws and/or internal logic that they are nothing but dumb fucks because of that?”. well kids, then THIS is the movie for you.
I did a quick flyby through the imdb forum to check the general opinion about this film and it basically comes down to two opinions: 1. This films overall does not make any sense and some specific events are downright absurd and insulting to any thinking viewer & 2. NO! it is brilliant! it is about the predestination paradox you dumb fucks! when will people understand? oh the humanity!
I am tending more towards opinion 1 , since I have higher demands towards cleverness than what the film actually provides.
This film starts with our protagonist, the time travelling agent, trying and failing to stop the so-called fizzle bomber from detonating a bomb, while getting 3rd level degree burns on his face in the process. then he uses his time machine in the form of a violin case (I kid you not!), to travel back to his original time, where he has to undergo a lot of reconstructive surgery because of the burns and prepare himself to take another shot in attempting to travel back in time to stop the bomber. once recovered, he continues his quest, leaving the viewer in the dark about what exactly his plan would be. next we are confronted with him working incognito as a bartender, talking to an extremely androgynous person, trying to pursued him/her to tell him his/hers back story. that’s where the whole shebangabang starts. from this point on it is a whole lot of travelling back and forth in time, past selves interacting with future selves and vice versa and a whole lotta fizzle bomber hunting.
Along the way the film surpasses many many illogical, yes upright absurd events, which the internal “logic” of the film and the fans of the film alike all explain by one of the three answers: 1. It’s
predestined, so there is no explanation or logical array leading to these events necessary, 2. It is a paradox and it lays in the meaning of a paradox that it rejects logic and/or meaning & 3. Time travelling messes with your brain, so the narrator is not reliable.
So basically the film is the ultimate copout. everything justifies itself by being there, but they needed some kind of alibi plot, so that it could become 90 minutes long.
Oh and while we are talking runtime. let’s not forget that the film is based on the “rather short” story “all you zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein, who seem to have a legendary status in the field of science fiction authors. I did not know this until after I have seen the film, but immediately after I found this out, I was sure that most of the totally absurd parts were added to the film script and surely weren’t in the original story, so I looked it up. damn, was I wrong. seems like the original story Is just or at least almost as ridiculous as the film. I don’t know, maybe it is just easier to digest as a short story and maybe it would be easier to swallow this as a 30 minute twilight zone episode, but as a 90 minute flick it just gets annoying at one point, yes even a bit insulting at the end, especially the whole paradox bullshit.
Defender of this film compare the logic or better lack of ro something like the “chicken and the egg paradox”, which tells a lot about their mindset, because this is not a paradox, since the options given are not the only ones possible. the easiest explanation would be, that microbes at one point evolved into an animal that at one string concluded in the animal we know today as chicken, which when started to reproduce by laying eggs. See, no paradox. No predestination.
There is nothing to say against using a time travelling paradox in a film, yes especially a sci-fi film, but still there is a need to make sense. in this case Heinlein clearly set out to make a predestination paradox story and was sure how he would end it and then started to build a story around it rather can coming up with an original concept and take it from there. after that he did his best (sic) to fill plot holes that came up along the way and it shows. every time you sit there thinking “wait a minute”, a silly excuse for the event that puzzled you comes along.
Bottom line: if you like this kind of stuff and prefer mainstream films like this, then stick with “looper”. if you expect more from this genre, leave them both alone and give “time crimes” a shot. some elements that are used in predestination were used in time crimes as well, with the difference that time crimes did not need neither all the lame plot twists and massive budget that as wasted on predestination.