Watch one of the hottest sci-fi thrillers on Netflix right now
There is only one thing you need to know about Synchronic 2019.
It’s not that it’s a low-budget sci-fi movie with an intriguing premise. It’s not that he stars Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan as best friends. It is not that its directors were hired to lead a.
It’s that Synchronic is really, really going to bore you with its plot holes and inconsistencies and absurd time travel mechanics spinning around in your head until a miraculous counter-argument emerges from the haze and convinces you that everything makes sense after all.
Surprisingly, this is a recommendation for watching Synchronic. A dark and frustrating, divisive indie gem with flashes of brilliance. It’s yet another taste of the thrilling talent of directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (check out The Endless in 2017 for a twisted horror flavor). Just lean into the anger that Synchronic inspires, and ultimately, on the other side, you will have a fulfilling experience.
Mackie and Dornan play Steve and Dennis, two remarkably laid-back paramedics working in New Orleans. They are called upon to heal a series of people who tell inconsistent stories after taking a drug called Synchronic.
Steve and Dennis investigate the origins of the drug and its impossible time-traveling abilities, all while coming to terms with their crumbling personal lives. Steve is a jaded ladies’ man and Dennis is stuck in a dysfunctional marriage.
The best parts of Synchronic involve the element of science fiction itself. The Discovery. Steve and Dennis walking along a dark road in the middle of the night, discussing their normal life, until they enter a house and find a shocking scene from a horror movie, where someone one has been stabbed and a medieval sword inexplicably comes out of a wall.
Thanks to a few conspiratorial devices, Steve ends up taking the drug himself. This is where Synchronic gets thrilling in an incredibly visceral way.
From its low-key foothold, the film sends Steve and us into the frightening unknown. The threat of sudden, violent death hangs over everything, because in this time travel story Steve is a black man, and going back to some places comes with a whole new layer of danger.
The mechanics of how the time travel drug works are clearly explained as Steve conducts experiments. An analogy involving a record player alone is worth the appearance of a character. At one point, directors Benson and Moorhead shake things up by giving us Steve’s first-person perspective, placing us directly in the driver’s seat to experience what emerges from the tense darkness. and unpredictable from the next place.
Other aspects of the drug, including a subsequent minor stretch that is behind its creation, crumbles. In addition, while effective in some ways, the general sense of realism can reveal how ridiculous the drug’s capabilities are.
Still, Steve’s clever, clever staging and dry sense of humor delivered with Mackie’s deadpan swagger shines above Synchronic’s obvious rougher edges. The story is far from perfect, linking to the barely developed emotional core, involving Steve, Dennis, and Dennis’ daughter, Brianna. (A horrific scene involving Steve’s dog is either an example of bad character decision making or an intentional jerk of our emotional feelings.)
Synchronic’s bittersweet ending is frustrating but doesn’t reduce the impact of its larger parts. Hopefully, the movie allows you to watch the other Benson and Moorhead movies, four of which are part of a connected universe (some connections are stronger than others).
The talent of the directors will be on display to a wider audience when Marvel’sarrives on Disney Plus sometime in 2022. It promises bigger budget action, starring Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector, a former US sailor who becomes superhero Moon Knight. Benson and Moorhead got their hands on two of the six episodes. I can’t wait to see how they go wild with all that a full-scale production has to offer.
Synchronic is streaming on Netflix now. It can be slow, with some dodgy dialogue and an ending that gets you out of control. You need the maximum attention while watching a movie to absorb the subtle details that explain what’s going on. And yet, it is still up to the interpretation to know if absolutely everything makes sense. Cross? Decide for yourself.
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