‘Synchronicity’ is a love letter to ’70s sci-fi genre (review)


Synchronicity. Noun. The simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related, but have no discernible causal connection. Nothing would better describe the unfolding of this time-travel tale, created by writer-director Jacob Gentry, known for his breakout feature in 2007’s The Signal. A film that cultivates the very idea that we can share the same experience as our protagonist, Synchronicity uses an intelligent design- utilizing well-crafted plot devices and insightful dialogue – over an action-based format, separating itself from most common sci-fi films and giving moviegoers a unique experience. Pulling from inspirations such as notable ’70s and early ’80s sci-fi films like Omega Man, THX 1138, Logan’s Run, Bladerunner and many more, this film carries the torch that once-burned-bright in the history of sci-fi cinema.

Physicist Jim Beale (Chad McKnight), along with his assistants Chuck (A.J. Bowen) and Matty (Scott Poythress), invents a machine that can fold space-time, creating a wormhole in the universe. A rare Dahlia appears from the future, and Jim must now find the flower’s identical match in the present to prove to his benefactor, billionaire CEO named Klaus Meisner (Michael Ironside), that his machine works. Jim soon discovers that the Dahlia lies in the hands of a mysterious girl, Abby (Brianne Davis), who seduces him into revealing his secrets. Convinced that he’s fallen prey to a femme fatale trying to steal his invention, Jim travels back in time to stop her betrayal before it happens. But once in the past, Jim uncovers a surprising truth about the machine, the girl, and his own reality.


The film creates a sci-fi/neo-noir atmosphere early on in the film, as the infamous synth swarm echoes right as soon as the film starts. Hearing those tones and chords gives the viewer their very own time travel experience, as you feel like you’re being pulled back to that time when you first saw Logan’s RunNot only does the auditory experience take you back, but the abstract visuals that overtake your screen scream ’70s, as shouts of brown and white collide with one another at each synth climax, creating a combination of mental stimulation that entrances viewers to see more of the film. Synchronicity truly wears its heart on its sleeve for Blade Runner in the cinematography department, as we see each smoky room cut by beams of light coming through the windows, creating distinctly dim lit sets that set the mood for this neo-noir story.

Gentry makes easy work of creating clever plot development and dialogue amidst a top notch cast of characters. Seeing the film once will not be enough for you, as once you see it, you will have to re-watch it to catch all the things you missed. The plot paces well through the film, creating a sense of urgency at times, yet, through the lens of its inspirations, hails a sense of tranquility in its design. The film allows its viewers to not be overwhelmed by the dangers taking place in each scene, but by the beauty that each film cell holds, as a whole, including the cinematography, dialogue, and presence of characters. The characters were expertly cast, from McKnight to Davis to the always incredible Michael Ironside. The intelligent struggle that takes place onscreen between McKnight and Ironside shows the unique acting skill that these actors exude, showing that Ironside can still command an authoritative performance after all these years, portraying the ultimate nemesis to any hero in any story.


Synchronicity taps into the very vein that set films like Bladerunner and Primer apart from the rest: it creates an ambiance of science fiction amidst a Neo-noir world, filled with sound and sights that would impress even Ridley Scott. Synchronicity is the answer to the age-old question that has plagued movie lovers for the last 20 years: is Sci-fi filmmaking dead? The answer? Synchronicity.

Synchronicity, starring Chad McKnight, Brianne Davis, and Michael Ironside, debut in theaters nationwide January 22, 2016.

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