It is no mean feat to construct a science fiction movie of inherent quality.
The speculative, futuristic nature of the genre gives producers what is arguably an unparalleled degree of artistic creativity. Be it the characters, the storyline, or even the setting of the film, science fiction allows audiences to dream far beyond what is possible within the confines of the real world.
Regrettably - and mirroring the endless possibilities of such a genre - the possibilities for the success of a sci-fi movie are limitless. Some, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, redefine what humanity perceives to be the pinnacle of filmmaking within the genre, while outings like Battlefield Earth and Alien vs. Predator plumb new depths of abysmal movie production.
Elsewhere, a litany of sci-fi films exist that blew audiences out of the water with their unexpectedly great quality. Be it a lowly budget, unestablished figures in charge of production, or what appeared to be an endlessly played out central premise, the very nature of these films provided a shocking, real-life plot twist for audiences, who were blown away by what they initially assumed would be an underwhelming trip to the movies.
To this day, Predestination flies under the radar of most fans, who are sadly unaware of the stunning quality of this 2014 sleeper hit.
Without hyperbole, quite literally everything about Predestination is an example of sci-fi filmmaking at its finest. The performances of Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook (in a superb breakout role) are otherworldly, while the story possesses the jaw-dropping twists and turns of pictures like Inception or The Prestige, arguably even surpassing them.
The film is also a hauntingly introspective exploration of the notion of identity, featuring a gender reassignment as a core concept of the storyline. Such a layered character set against a mind-boggling sci-fi backdrop means that Predestination provides the rare combination of a movie that is grounded in the absolutely unbelievable, while invoking internal debate of what is inescapably real.
Predestination did not receive much in the way of fanfare upon its release - even the casting of A-lister and budding horror staple Ethan Hawke failed to elicit a great deal of mainstream interest. A it stands, the film holds the unfortunate honour of being one of the more critically-acclaimed sci-fi outings that nobody appears to have heard of.