If you’ve seen any of the previous films by the writer / director duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, you don’t need much more detail: bewilderment, fiddling with visual and narrative conventions, and plot surprise are guaranteed. So they did in the romantic and exhilarating monster movie ‘Spring’, and in the connected interdimensional travel duo of ‘Resolution’ and the excellent ‘Infinity’, his best film to date.
With ‘Synchronic’ (available on Filmin, Rakuten TV and it was planned that also on Amazon Prime Video, although it does not seem to have arrived) they continue to delve into a question that haunts them: how to display altered states not only of the mind, but also of physical reality. And when they intersect, does one distort the perception of another, and this tears the linear narrative? With that constant in their work, it was clear that Benson and Moore would end up making a more common time travel movie.
‘Synchronic’ is, perhaps, the duo’s most conventional film, which doesn’t exactly make it a blockbuster summer. It’s conventional to the same extent that ‘Spring’ was a cover teenager from ‘The Panther Woman’. In other words, it is, but you don’t have to take anything for granted either. Here, time travel is produced by a powerful hallucinogen, which is true that it does not make much sense (Are they hallucinations or true walks through time?), But it works if we let ourselves be carried away by the rhythm that Benson and Moorhead impress on the film.
Here a pair of ER paramedics – Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie, shortly before becoming one of the most recognizable faces in Marvel today – encounter a series of bizarre and inexplicable deaths in nighttime New Orleans. They are produced by a drug that affects younger users, and They will soon discover that there is more to that chemical compound than meets the eye at first..
Up to the time travel eyebrows
The main problem with ‘Synchronic’ is that the scriptwriters and directors have decided to propose very rigid mechanics (the way to determine where and how time travels, how long it lasts and what things can be taken and brought from other times), but They have not given it much thought to explain its nature. Drugs are often a lazy plot device, but here it goes to the extremeSome erratic theory about the backbone of travelers is not very clear.
All in all, and if the viewer assumes that ‘Synchronic’ it is not even remotely a ‘Primer’ in terms of rigorously respecting the mechanics of travel and the inevitable paradoxes, wait a while more than entertaining. The protagonist’s disquisitions about the springs and the operation of the trips are fun and intriguing and all are reinforced by a great Mackie, who brings conviction and a few drops of drama to his character.
‘Synchronic’ wins whole, for that very reason, when Moorhead and Benson get carried away by the wild approach, and they play, for example, with the idea that objects from other times are transferred to the present, or that they appear in the exact same place, but in another time, with the consequent rough landings. The deaths are all explained that way, but they are not made explicit in the film, which provides a few interesting details that add complexity to the story.
‘Synchronic’ is far from the magnificent festival of confusion that is ‘Infinity’, but it is interesting that the film poses a crazy starting point and does not separate from it at any time. Perhaps it lacks a bit of nerve or a bit of melodrama to the motivations of the characters, each with a backpack of too many traumas in tow, but the set is very enjoyable and a must of the week for compulsive time travel consumers .