Synchronic is an American science fiction horror drama directed and produced by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead and written by Benson. It stars Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie. The film has been touted by many critics as one of the best scifi movies of 2020. Benson and Moorhead have a good reputation as cutting-edge indie scifi directors with previous well-received movies like Spring and The Endless. The duo are also working together on the upcoming Disney+/Marvel Studios streaming Moon Knight series.
Thus, we had great expectations for Synchronic which frankly, the movie did not meet. Considering the relative star power of Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Mackie (MCU’s Falcon, no less) married with the edgy track record of Benson and Moorhead, the movie deserved better, especially when the basic premise showed promise.
The premise of Synchronic revolves around our two leads, who play two New Orleans paramedics, whose lives are ripped apart after they encounter a series of horrific deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects. Now, this logline sounds suspiciously like Project Power, also based in New Orleans (!) where a drug provides superpowers for a limited time period. Strike 1!
Flimsy and familiar to say the least but let’s move on. The drug in question for our subject movie actually allows the taker the ability to travel into the past for a limited time period. How a mere drug is able to do that is unclear and the rules surrounding the use of the drug is also never explained. Strike 2!
Mackie’s Steve Denube is stricken with cancer which drives him to experiment with the drug himself. Dornan’s Dennis Dannelly has a daughter (Brianna) who disappears after taking the drug. So inevitably, Denube embarks on a quest to rescue Brianna from the past. Again, there are many problems with the logic of this entire narrative which the movie never resolves. For example, why taking the drug from a specific location sends you to the same time period though not at the same moment. Denube travels to the same past as Brianna but why not at the same time? Illogical. Strike 3!
Unfortunately, in the final analysis, Synchronic is – despite its intriguing premise – a disappointing movie. Hope Benson and Moorhead do a better job with Moon Knight!
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