It all started in the year 1895, when H.G. Wells’ carefully woven story around Time Travel encapsulated the combined geniuses of the likes of Newton and Einstein in the form of an art, a novel. ‘The Time Machine’ is a continued, timeless splendor that has given birth to the cult behind Time Travel. The concepts of Time Travel, Temporal Loops, Discontinuities and Paradoxes have, till now, caught the fancy of physicists, mathematicians, story tellers and film makers for close to a century now, and the reason behind it doesn’t take a lot of head scratching. In all its being constant and unchangeable, time is the one thing the trivial man wishes he could change, or even affect indirectly. Give it a thought, who hasn’t thought of going back in time and fixing a few wrongs, or traveling to the future to catch a short glimpse of it? Yet, a lot of these stories end digressing upon the inevitability of it all, how it is all predestined, and man is but a tool in the works. That inevitability is what has piqued man’s interest in time as a physical object, measurable yet unfathomable in its extent, constantly changing yet repeating itself.
‘Predestination’ is a film that toys with a lot of these ideas and experiments with a narrative that boldly emphasizes on the pun, ‘time travel never gets old’. Adapted from the 1959 short novel by Robert Heinlein, the film bears impeding resemblance to Spielberg’s Minority Report, based on a 1956 Philip Dick story. It’s venerably interesting to note how both movies drew their timelines from the 1960’s.
Characters and Jargons
It is safe to assume that if you clicked the link, you have watched the film. So, without further ado, before getting on to dabble with complexities including recurring time loops and voids, let’s get to know our main players, and how I’ll be referring to them in the explanation, per my understanding.
Baby Jane: The orphan with an unknown ancestry that is dropped off at the door of an orphanage in the beginning of the film.
Jane: The girl and woman baby Jane grows up into, detached and estranged from her peers, due to her being seemingly ‘different’ from them.
John: The guy she is transformed Into following Jane’s delivery and subsequent sex change operation.
The Barkeep/John Doe: The bartender at the bar John goes to drink, and is interested in listening to John’s story.
The Fizzle Bomber: A notorious bomber on the loose, responsible for the loss of lives in the thousands.
This is until only some time passes in the film. All of them assume dual roles to play in the film’s complex narrative as it develops further, becoming paradoxes in themselves in the time loops that form. This will be better understood when we establish what time loops actually are, and the ones this film employs.