Anthony Mackie who played the Falcon in the Marvel Avengers series tackles a different sort of role in this present day sci-fi tale. The movie starts off with some bizarre deaths seemingly linked to a designer drug called Synchronic. But Anthony Mackie’s character, a paramedic named Steve, stumbles upon the drug’s hidden power. Together with his BFF fellow paramedic Dennis (played by Jamie Dornan who starred in the recent Wild Mountain Thyme), they face something that changes their lives forever.
Synchronic is the brainchild of the director and writer team, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. They had enjoyed some recognition and acclaimed at the various film festival circuits for their earlier works Resolution and The Endless. I have to admit that I have not heard or seen either of these so Synchronic is my introduction to their work. The good news is that the story feels original and despite the limited budget, they still manage to put across something that doesn’t look or feel cheap. Playing to their favour is the story’s originality with an unexpectedly compassionate theme as its core. This in a way is a contradiction to its genre which I would put as sci-fi horror. So refreshingly, we have something that thugs at the heartstring instead of the usual screaming and scantily dressed teenagers being killed bloodily one by one.
The bad news (minor spoiler ahead … stop reading and skip to next paragraph if you do not wish to know) is that the central idea of a pill that can enable time travel is hard to swallow (pun intended). And the conditions in which the time travel happens such as the duration and actual period travelled, is even more preposterous. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead ignores this and moves the story along without feeling the need to over explain the concept. In other words, just accept what is thrown at you and move on …
At the end, Synchronic ends up feeling a little bit of a mixed bag for me. I liked the empathy of the story and I thought Anthony Mackie carried the film well. I just wasn’t very convinced by its science fiction bits.