TADFF 2015: Synchronicity
Trying to outsmart time is futile at best, but despite this many a physicist has attempted to crack the secret to time travel. In his new film Synchronicity, writer-director Jacob Gentry, of 2007’s The Signal fame, takes on the concept of time travel in a way that will make the gray matter in your head spin.
Jim Beale (Chad McKnight) is a physicist who thinks he has finally mastered time travel. His lab tests all point in the direction of success, but he is at the mercy of a ruthless investor, Klaus Meisner (Michael Ironside), who wants a stake in his breakthrough. When Jim falls for Abby (Brianne Davis), a beautiful woman who may jeopardize his work, his research and reasons for being hang in the balance. Things get further complicated for Jim when becomes a part of his own experiment in a desperate attempt to save himself, his work and his heart.
Synchronicity is definitely a thinker that you need to pay attention to in order to follow the winding and backtracking story. While Gentry offers some fairly swift explanations for certain moments, that’s the only part handed to you on a platter. He leaves the rest of Jim’s ordeal, which becomes a bit confounding at times, for you to decipher. However, even if physics and time travel isn’t your strong suit, you’ll get the gist with a little effort.
The film’s look will definitely please fans of Blade Runner and sci-fi noir, especially with its dark, neon-lit cityscapes. The dystopian concrete sets, scored with a buzzing synthesizer soundtrack, further set the tone of the world Gentry builds. With minimal CGI work, Gentry crafts an intriguing character driven sci-fi romance with a self-serving anti-hero. At times Jim’s overly confident nature, and loose-lipped arrogance, made the consequences of his missteps more enjoyable to watch. While I wasn’t completely sold on the romantic chemistry between Jim and Abby, it served its purpose from a plot perspective.
The glue that keeps the romance subplot together is Brianne Davis. She is exceptionally good in the film. Davis provides Abby with a complexity that makes her more than merely the token love interest. While Davis is strong in the film, the real scene stealers for me were Jim’s research partners Matty (Scott Poythress) and Chuck (A. J. Bowen), whose one-liners and support throughout the film were a welcomed relief. Michael Ironside, who is a genre favourite, is also a treat as the stony businessman who thinks he has all the answers.
In the end, Synchronicity offers an interesting take on the perils of worm holes, heartbreak and egos.