Cinema Review: Synchronicity | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020  

Synchronicity

Studio: Magnet Releasing
Directed by Jacob Gentry

Jan 22, 2016 Web Exclusive
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Low-budget sci-fi is, for many filmmakers and genre enthusiasts, the wave of the future. As with slasher films which require neither large casts nor a slew of sets, and which incorporate manageable, grounded special effects, so too can tremendous sci-fi flicks be made relatively inexpensively. (Ex Machina and Moon are just two fantastic, recent examples.) With a brilliant concept and skillful execution, the sky is no longer the limit.

Enter Synchronicity, one of the first additions to the genre in 2016. Directed and written by Jacob Gentry (Alex Orr receives story credit, as well), it tells of Jim Beale (Chad McKnight), a physicist who successfully builds a time machine. He goes back in time five days and must try to stop a beautiful, seductive woman, Abby (Brianne Davis), from stealing his work. Veteran character actor and frequent villain, Michael Ironside, plays Klaus Meisner, Abby’s boss and the businessman with aggressive (and financial) interest in Beale’s work.

Much like Primer, Shane Carruth’s excellent if not overly cerebral 2004 time travel film, Synchronicity is a strong example of confined sci-fi. With a limited cast and essentially just one location to worry about, Gentry is free to devote all of his resources to his story. This proves simultaneously the film’s greatest strength, and its fatal flaw. For starters, Gentry focuses too closely on the science. He relies too frequently on overly detailed descriptions of the science involved. Yes, it lends believability to the setup, but it also renders it somewhat dull. There’s no doubt in my mind Gentry took the time every filmmaker should in figuring out the logic behind his premise, but by the time the actual story begins, we’ve partially glossed over from physics fatigue. More so, we’ve lost sight of the actual plot, which then appears and tucks itself away again for the duration of the runtime.

On the other hand, when Gentry loosens his grip on the science and simply plays with his premise, Synchronicity proves a good bit of fun. In a move that’s liable to draw comparisons to Memento, Gentry wisely tells a movie about time travel out of chronological order. All of a sudden, the duality of Beale and his five-day-older self is a phenomenon Billy Pilgrim would be proud of. Unfortunately, it’s often overshadowed by the gratuitous complexities of the setup (not that time travel is a cinch, mind you), which conspire to draw further focus away from the character interactions. Synchronicity is an admirable effort, but it is far from flawless.

www.magnetreleasing.com/synchronicity

Author rating: 4/10

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