Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Synchronicity


   This atmospheric sci-fi noir tale put a smile on my face far more than once, and despite it's limitations, it was thoroughly watchable. It's not great, or fantastic, but it's really good. Unfortunately it's also the kind of movie that's somewhat hard to review. I don't really know what to say about these kinds of movies because there's not much to discuss. The cast is comprised of mostly unknowns, despite a few minutes from Michael Ironside, the plot is complex to the extent that I couldn't spoil it for you even if I tried. But, it's good. It's not bad. Nuff said? Of course not.

   After having re-watched Blade Runner the other day, I'm seeing it virtually everywhere. Even the trailer for it's belated sequel dropped, Blade Runner 2049. Synchronicity is no exception. Just about every scene is dripping with Blade Runner-esque noir visuals. Searchlights send beams of lights flooding through windows covered with blinds, filling rooms with slices of light, and strips of shadow. Amazingly, there's not a grizzled veteran detective anywhere in the plot, although there is a potential femme fatale- and, if I recall right, she does smoke.

   I'm just going through the sci-fi noir aesthetic checklist here, but so far Synchronicity is going for the fucking gold. Yet, it blends those visuals with some other genre influences like Beyond the Black Rainbow, or perhaps the works of Stanley Kubrick. There's also a consistently sterile look to parts of the movie, not unlike Gattaca. I could go on and on with the comparisons, but this is undeniably the work of a genre fan, and that would be writer/director Jacob Gentry. I'm not familiar with his other work, but Synchronicity was solid enough that I'll keep an eye out for his name in the future.

   The movie is about time travel. Kind of. It's one big fucking causality loop, and if you're a genre veteran yourself, with movies like Predestination, Primer, and Triangle under your belt, you're good to go. I think I've name dropped like ten other movies so far, and I hate doing that to such an extent, but that's kind of what watching this movie was like. Not in a bad way though, it feels pleasantly familiar. It's a smart flick with confidence of style, and it's easy to get engrossed in it's plot. Even what I initially perceived as a lack of chemistry between the leads is eventually overcome.

   Not one detail is left unchecked, and even when the movie appears to derail in glorious fashion the way only a goddamn time travel movie can, it still keeps you engaged. I can see how the romance-centric plot could put off some viewers, and truth be told, I wasn't fond of that direction at first either, but I think it worked out well. The ending of the movie lost me, but it seemed only like I had missed something because I was tired when watching. Like all brainy sci-fi films, the devil is in the details and if you're looking for something simple and breezy, this isn't it.

   I'd be completely willing to give this another go-round eventually, and I'd even add it to my personal movie collection. It's a good movie. Serviceable, atmospheric, engaging. It's not a game-changer, nor is it profoundly amazing, but does every movie need to be? I'd love to say it's middle-of-the-road entertainment if it didn't come off like a negative statement. It's good, and I think I'll leave it at that. Well worth checking out for genre fans.

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