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article imageReview: Time travel movie ‘Synchronicity’ keeps it all straight Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Oct 23, 2015 in Entertainment
‘Synchronicity’ is a competent time travel movie that distinctively concerns itself with personal choices over the fate of the world.
Time travel is a tricky business. Toss in parallel worlds and free will, and you don’t know where you might end up or what you could alter. The rules and consequences change from film to film, but there are generally some similarities which allow the viewer to become more easily acquainted with the protagonist’s situation; divining which systems are in play is part of the fun. Synchronicity takes an interesting approach to the science fiction narrative, encouraging viewers to piece together the puzzle for themselves.
Jim Beale (Chad McKnight) and his team members, Chuck (AJ Bowen) and Matty (Scott Poythress), have achieved the impossible: they’ve discovered the secret to time travel. Unsurprisingly the key ingredient in their formula is exceedingly expensive, requiring them to partner with a shady businessman (Michael Ironside) to obtain the necessary component to test their machine. The experiment is a success, but it has unexpected consequences. As the story progresses, it’s difficult to distinguish between cause and effect, and Jim’s involvement with the beautiful Abby (Brianne Davis) is the source of an additional distraction.
This fascinating story is told in two parts. The first half follows the experiment through from their first pass to the second, exploring Jim’s conflicting interests in furthering his career and seducing Abby. The second half deals with the exact same period, but from a perspective that demonstrates how their invention affected the timeline. The dual viewpoint of the matching occurrences is remarkably thought-provoking, compelling audiences to draw the lines between the corresponding incidents in each fragment. The chicken-or-the-egg conundrum still applies, but is not a significant aspect of the narrative. Instead, once the theory of parallel universes is introduced by one of Jim’s associates, it opens the movie to infinitely more possibilities.
The premise will remind some viewers of the indie sci-fi picture, Primer, which is one of the best time travel narratives ever produced in spite of its constrained budget. Aesthetically, the world beyond the lab is very similar to the one depicted in Blade Runner; ominous skyscrapers blocking the dark sky and modern décor ornamenting rooms that overlook the metallic landscape. In addition, the neo-noir synth score creates an atmosphere reminiscent of its futuristic predecessors.
The protagonist in these movies is generally in the most challenging role as they are required to meet the demands of rather complex scripts and exhibit a range of conflicting emotions. McKnight definitely fulfills his obligations as the lead actor, convincingly playing the multi-faceted part of a conflicted time traveller. Abby is suspicious but unawares for most of the picture, which requires Davis to simply remain mysterious in everyone’s eyes. The rest of the supporting cast is secondary, but Ironside is always an excellent villain.
The film screened at the 2015 Toronto After Dark Film Festival.
Director: Jacob Gentry
Starring: Chad McKnight, Brianne Davis and AJ Bowen
More about Synchronicity, Chad McKnight, Michael Ironside, AJ Bowen, Scott Poythress
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