US reviewers have lauded the Spierig brothers’ Predestination which launched in cinemas and on-demand platforms last Friday.
The time-travel tale starring Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook and Noah Taylor opened on 20 screens, making a fair $US43,000 in the first three days.
Typifying the rave reviews, Rolling Stone’s Pete Travers declared, “To try and wrap your head around the plot of Predestination can only lead to madness. Don't get me wrong: The movie itself is a trip. Just jump off the cliff and go with the Spierig brothers, Peter and Michael, as they whoosh into the labyrinth of their own fervid imaginations. If you get stuck and feel lost — and you will — don't sweat it.”
Travers opined that Hawke is at his mesmerizing best as the Temporal Agent whose mission is to stop future murders before they happen, and said of Snook, “You won't be able to take your eyes off Snook, an Aussie actress who makes whatever sex she's playing almost irrelevant. You watch her. You hear her. You believe. It's a dynamite performance.”
The Los Angeles Times’ Martin Tsai wrote, “The Spierig brothers have deftly fashioned an unpredictable thrill ride, and the joy is to fit together all its puzzle pieces. Hand them a decent budget, and watch them be the next Wachowskis.
“Hawke continues to make risky and interesting choices, and this one echoes 1997's Gattaca. The virtually unknown Snook truly impresses playing both genders. This is the first great film of 2015.”
New York Magazine’s David Edelstein observed, “Don’t expect car chases or crowd scenes. The Spierigs — German boys, Michael and Peter (they made Daybreakers) — keep things moody and intimate. This is a deeply solipsistic movie, but how deep is something you’ll need to find out for yourself.”
According to IMDB.com, the sci-fi thriller went straight to DVD and pay-TV in France and Spain and will do so in Germany. IMDB lists the UK opening as February 20 and Japan as February 28. In Australia it's grossed $780,000.
The World Made Straight, a North Carolina-set, 1970s coming-of-age drama which has several Australian elements, opened in the US last Friday on 10 cinemas. The 3-day take was a modest $US6,300 but distributor Millennium Entertainment is pursuing the strategy of simultaneous release on premium VoD and electronic sell through, followed by DVD and VoD in February/March.
The feature directing debut of David Burris (executive producer on several seasons of Survivor), the film stars The Railway Man’s Jeremy Irvine as a high school drop-out who struggles to decide between the dark path he is on and the chance at a new life.
The screenplay based on a Ron Rash novel is by Shane Danielsen, a former artistic director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Sydney-based Michael Wrenn developed the project with Burris and produced with Dreambridge Films' Todd J. Labarowski and Daniel Wagner of Bifrost Pictures.
The cast includes Adelaide Clemens (The Great Gatsby, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D and TV’s Rectify) together with Noah Wyle, Minka Kelly, Steve Earle and Haley Joel Osment.
San Francisco Chronicle’s Mick La Salle gave thumbs up, noting Burris “does an impressive job with good but tricky material” and describing the film as moody and dealing with events from the past “that influence — subtly, in an almost mystical way — events more than a century later.”
The Los Angeles Times’ Sheri Linden was less impressed, finding “the movie finally feels more manufactured than organic, a travelogue of portent, complete with plangent guitars and peopled by characters from the backwoods playbook.”
An Australian deal is being negotiated.