Thursday, 28 January 2016

Synchronicity (2016): Review

Synchronicity is a 2016 science fiction film. Directed by Jacob Gentry (The Signal) and starring Chad McKnight, Brianne Davis (Prom Night), AJ Bowen (You're Next, The Sacrament) and Michael Ironside (Scanners, Total Recall). The film premiered at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival.

The plot revolves around brilliant scientist Jim Beale (McKnight) and his attempts to build a successful time machine along with his crew Chuck (Bowen) and Matt. These attempts are being funded by billionaire investor Klaus Meisner (Ironside) who happens to own the worlds supply of radioactive material needed to run the machine. After a mysterious item comes through the machine from the future, Beale is led through a treacherous journey through time and space by a mysterious girl named Abby(Davis). All he has to do to save the world and get the girl is bring the past and future together without causing the universe to collapse.

Right from the smoky, beautifully lit opening shots to the lush synth soundtrack it becomes very clear that this movie is an homage to Blade Runner and the sci-fi noir subgenre in general. This can sometimes go a little overboard, with lens flares that even JJ Abrams would think a little excessive. But, on the whole, the film is gorgeous to look at and the filmmakers have far exceeded the limitations of their budget. The story itself is more your grab-a-pen-and-a-pad type sci fi in the same vein as Primer (2004) and Donnie Darko (2001) and will reward you providing you can keep up with the universes and time loops in play.

I can't really say that it's a film any more ambitious than Primer, perhaps just with more aesthetic appeal and sexiness. And speaking of sexiness, the only thing that tended to drag the film down was the somewhat shoehorned romantic angle which felt pretty out of place in such a full on, physics based plot. I understand they were trying to tap into the romantic noir feel of Blade Runner and marry it to more ambitious, scientific plot points but the reason this worked so well in Blade Runner is because it was more suggestive philosophy than equations and formulas.

Definitely worth a watch if you like time travel/parallel dimension movies (which I obviously do), but by the same token, Synchronicity doesn't really offer anything new to fans of the genre and I can understand why some have been frustrated with it not quite fulfilling it's potential. Perhaps my feelings will change with repeat viewings, and it's always a compliment to the ambition of a time travel plot that you feel inclined to dig through it again, but sadly many people will watch it once and dismiss it as a poor mans Blade Runner.

**** 4 Stars

What did you think of Synchronicity? Did it need to be more ambitious?


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