26th Jan2021

‘Synchronic’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Katie Aselton, Ally Ioannides, Ramiz Monsef, Bill Oberst Jr., Betsy Holt, Shane Brady | Written by Justin Benson | Directed by Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

New Orleans paramedics Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) begin to encounter some awful and viscerally brutal murders, the only connection is a drug named synchronic. When Dennis daughter goes missing Steve becomes obsessed with finding her. He soon finds that synchronic is not just a psychotropic drug that has people dying in mental unexplained ways but get this… Its also a time travel drug. Yup, that’s a plot point in this movie and boy do they bury the lead on that score… The important question being, which rules do we follow? T2 or Back to the Future??]

First of all I want to talk about how bloody gorgeous Synchronic looks. The darkness, the grit and the rundown reality is all so vibrant and pops which gives the New Orleans setting a life of its own. Anything could come around the corner and you would believe it was a part of this world. Then there are the limited VFX that get used somewhat sparingly to show that, yes, we will venture into the sci-fi realm but on our terms ,saving those big moments for the tail end of the movie.

While I genuinely loved the plot of Synchronic and it’s high concept ideas; it’s not without its flaws and one of the most glaring was the fact that they introduce you to a vital plot point really early on, which means audiences will pretty much figure out where the movie will potentially end up – yet the characters of the movie seem to be too dumb to figure this out on their own! I’m probably being super-critical for no real reason at all here but if I’m shouting at the TV about how stupid the characters are then I imagine most other viewers are.

Both Dornan and Mackie are spot on; with Mackie doing the bulk of the heavy lifting and driving things forward, while Dornan sort of takes a bit of a back seat. HOWEVER he is no slouch either putting in some really key top-notch scenes that served to change my perspective on him as an actor. Katie Aselton is wonderful as usual, always been a fan since the days of The League and it’s awesome to see her taking on very different roles like this.

I am so pleased to see that these directors are capable of putting out a concept like this. Not only did they think of it but they expertly executed the finished project too. I believe it was 2017 when The Endless came out and I was impressed by the duo then but here we are a short while later and you can see how much they have matured and learnt as filmmakers – which is probably how they could attach these high profile stars to Synchronic, which I guess is always what you want to see. It’s an easy 4 out of 5 for me. Couple little niggles but for the most part I have no issues.

**** 4/5

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