HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:77
Sci-fy noir… let that sink in for a while. That term is not as commonly thrown around as it was about a decade ago, but I shouldn’t be surprised that film makers are trying to harken back to a time long ago. I mean, hasn’t everything else been remade, rebooted and reinvented over the last few years? It seems the past is the next frontier in cinema, and while I’m rather jaded by the whole concept after gross saturation, I was REALLY intrigued when I saw that Jacob Gentry was attached to the project. Then I was doubly intrigued when I saw the trailer and noticed that everything looked PERFECTLY like a 1980s sci-fi film. Now for those of you who don’t remember, Jacob Gentry was the man who started his film making with the brilliantly fun indie film “The Signal” back in 2007. After hitting it out of the part, Gentry fell back into an MTV trio of slashers and then putzed around with a few smaller projects. I was eager to see what he did with this time travelling film noir romance entry into full time film making again. “Synchronicity” is definitely a worth entry into his repertoire and while the movie has a rather weak third act, it still is fascinating and enthralling for those of you who like hard science fiction mixed with the 80’s penchant for love stories.
We never know EXACTLY what time period we are in, but you can tell Gentry took some serious visual cues from “Blade Runner”. A concrete and metal jungle, the world that we’re set in feels almost sterile and post-apocalyptic in nature, with that sort of gritty 1980’s haircuts and film texture that one would associate with the original “Terminator”. Physicist Jim Beale (Chad McKnight) and his two assistants, Chuck (AJ Bowen) and Matty (Scott Poythress) are working on creating a time machine that will go back 5 days into the past with a wormhole, revolutionizing science as we know it today. The thing is, they’ve already succeeded. They just don’t know it yet. Funded by business tycoon, Klaus Meisner (Michael Ironside) Jim and his team create single failed attempt at traveling back in time, only to realize afterwards that maybe they didn’t fail. Jim notices a shadowy figure emerging from the blast radius of the wormhole upon closer inspection of the replay footage and suddenly starts getting migraines accompanied by what is visually replicated as a sunspot in his mind. While this is an enigma for the scientist, he goes on with the project only for these issues to keep cropping up again.
At the same time, Jim meets Abby (Brianne Davis), a lovely young girl who he falls head over heel for, only to come to the conclusion that she’s playing him for his time travel secrets. Stringing him along only for her to report back to their funding tycoon Klaus. Or is she? I can’t spoil this part as the trailer and the back of the Blu-ray case tell us, but the time travel WAS a success. At least it was even further in the future as the shadowy figure that Jim saw on the monitor was in fact HIMSELF, coming back into his own past for who knows what reason. Now we have two versions of Jim in the same world, both trying to gain control of their life back and traverse the treacherous waters that is Klaus Meisner and the lovely Abby.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70009[/img]I won’t spoil any more of the plot, as anything else I say about the actual plot will give away way more than I should for a review. In all honesty, the best way to watch “Synchronicity” is to go in completely blind, but if you can’t go in blind I will at least attempt to steer away from some of the more in depth points. Time travel movies are ALWAYS a bit of a “suspension of disbelief” experience. Even the best time travel movies start to fall apart under scrutiny due to the fact that time travel is literally so theoretical that anything we try and come up with just starts to fall in on itself after a while. We can only get so far with the theory before we start making up stuff to complete the loop and that is just conceptual theories that usually don’t hold water. If they DID hold true we’d actually have a good handle on how to actually travel through time. Thus the paradoxes. “Synchronicity” starts out with a fantastic premise. A guy goes through time to fix the wrongs that of the last few weeks and ends up in a cyclical loop with him and his younger self. Normally this would be a very simple plot device, but Jacob Gentry does a marvelous job at layering the movie with multiple scientific theories that overlap each other at once. For example we have Jim running under the assumption that he is time travelling, while Matty introduces a later theory about the multiverse and actually jumping into parallel dimensions instead of time traveling. Not to mention that viewer REALLY has to pay attention to a lot of the details in the movie. I won’t spoil it, but really pay very close attention to Abby’s book that she’s writing and start asking the question “How does she know this character so well, and how did she get SO MUCH right”?
As I said, time travel ultimately falls in on itself if you pay too much attention or stretch it out too long, and that’s exactly what happens here. The third act starts to falter from the amazing first two acts as the theories of time travel start to unravel and fall apart under scrutiny. The ending actually really works if you think about it, but it feels like it’s done out of necessity to please the viewers in the romance between Abby and Jim rather than actually working with the plot. Again, I can’t spoil it, but the indefinite loop of time travel either goes on forever with the same result (ascribing to the old time is constant and unchangeable theory) as well as hinting at the multiverse theory and allowing in for a few other discrepancies to be thought of if you remember the science of the first opening act being stated of needing a receiver and a sending device. Still, despite the weaker third act, the movie is highly entertaining and kept me thinking about the plethora of scientific possibilities and different time travel theories that Gentry brings to the table. The tone and texture of the movie is AUTHENTICALLY 1980s and the noir style romance between the fated lovers makes me feel like a 10 year old kid burning through his older brother’s VHS tapes once more.
Rated R for language including some sexual references
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70017[/img]“Synchronicity” really DOES take a visual queue from “Blade Runner”. The stone cold metallic colors mixed with the grey of cement walls. The spinning fan blades. The looking up at elevators, the list goes on and on. The desaturated image (filled with blues and grays of course) was shot on Arri Alexa cameras and looks rather nice, but the color grading and stylistic over use of lens flare and blooming whites along the lens flares gives the image a slightly hazy and smoky look to it. Fine detail is raw and gritty, but maintains a healthy levels of discrimination with what it shows and what it doesn’t show. Look at the intricacies of the Dahlia when Jim is observing it up close. Also look at Michael Ironside’s ruddy craggy face and notice all the peaks and valleys in his aging template. Blacks are good but can sometimes be a bit hazy with the details, showing off some milky colors at times due to the 1980’s noir style chosen. There’s also some light banding in the night sky that comes and goes. Overall it’s a very good transfer, and it’s only limitations (besides the banding) are stylistic choices mean to give the film a certain feel to a certain era.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70025[/img]Given both a French and English DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless track, the sound designers have mimicked the video encode in terms of style. By that I mean that, just like the look of the picture with its stylistic grading, the audio has been tweaked and adjusted to feel very old and 1980’s in tone. The heavy keyboarded score, with deep pulsing and melancholy beats set the mood and emotion for the movie instead of the characters and action, and the surrounds are constantly in used with this almost overbearing score. Dialog is strong and clear, but I did notice that the keyboard heavy score would sometimes drown out certain bits of dialog (can’t be sure if that was intentional or not). The surrounds are used heavily with the sounds of the city rustling in the background, or the whir and hum of the time travel machine throbbing to life in the lab, or the softer sounds of Abby’s apartment.
• Commentary With Writer/Director Jacob Gentry
• Interview With Actor Chad McKnight
• Interview With Actress Brianne Davis
• Interview With Writer/Director Jacob Gentry
• "Synchronicity" Music Video – “Time Travel”
• Theatrical Trailer
“Synchronicity” is not a masterpiece of sci-fi storytelling, but it is fascinating film that does a masterful job with the sound track to keep you engaged with the dense and multilayered theories of time travel. Time travel films usually fall apart under scrutiny (yes, even the greats like “Terminator” do this) and “Synchronicity” is no different. The third act starts to get a bit muddled and the ending doesn’t explain ENOUGH to get a good grasp on what the final jump accomplished. However there’s enough theories going through my head to choke a horse and each one has some merit, which by itself tends to support my theory that director Jacob Gentry did a wonderful job at getting just enough time travel right to get the viewer to think about what they just saw. Audio and video are solid for the stylistic choices made with the movie’s creation, and the extras are rather fascinating. Definitely recommended.
Starring: Chad McKnight, Brianne Davis, AJ Bowen
Directed by: Jacob Gentry
Written by: Jacob Gentry
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 10th 2016
Buy Synchronicity Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Good Watch
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