Reviewed by Galen Strickland
If you've read the source story, "—All You Zombies—" by Robert A. Heinlein, there won't be any surprises in this film, even though it does add one extra plot thread. If you haven't read it, you will likely be entertained by the multiple twists and turns of the story. I suggest you wait to read it, and also don't go looking for other reviews or comments about it either. The story originally appeared in the March 1959 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, but the opening scene is set in 1970, and that's where the film begins too. I'm not sure why the time frame was not changed, since the film includes a scenario from the story that could only have happened in an alternate universe. Perhaps it's best to think of it as such, otherwise it will seem weird. Of course, the central premise of the story is quite implausible to begin with. Not that plausibility should be a concern in a time-travel tale, but...
I can't say much beyond that or I'd risk spoiling too much. It is a good film, but not great. It's obviously low budget but that's okay, since it is more a character driven story than it is a showcase for FX. It follows the story very closely, and if not for the added plot it would've been a better fit for a television anthology rather than a feature film, since the short story is barely ten pages long. I am a long-time fan of Ethan Hawke, and he does a good job here, but the strength of the film is the performance by Sarah Snook. I will be on the lookout for her other work now, and I feel she is destined for bigger and better things. She is from Australia, where this was filmed, and so are the co-writers/producers/directors Michael and Peter Spierig.
It probably won't get wide theatrical distribution, nor even garner much recognition on video, since it is a simple story without a lot of action or big name stars. Less impatient viewers might lose interest because it does take a long time setting up the story, and it's mostly through dialogue and a few flashbacks. I won't say it's a must-see, but it's not a waste of time either, and maybe I was just predestined to like it because I'm a Heinlein fan. Just concentrate on Sarah's remarkable transformation and you will be rewarded. I rented it from Amazon because I didn't want to wait, and figured it wouldn't come to my town anyway. I might buy it on disc, maybe not, but if it's added to Netlix it will definitely be in my queue for several more viewings.
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