Synchronicity (2015)

(Netflix Streaming, January 2017) As far as low-budget time-travel science fiction thrillers go, Synchronicity is pretty much an average example of the form. It maximizes its limited budget through a limited cast of characters, a few locations, screenwriting ingenuity and cinematography dark enough to hide plenty of details. Time travel is nearly always a good low-budget SF premise, as the magic of movies allows for big SF ideas on next to no extra investment. The flip side, unfortunately, is that most time-travel thrillers tend to repeat themselves. Weirdness accumulates until we realize that the main character has been meddling in his past and we nearly always have to run through the same scenes twice. Writer/director Jacob Gentry plays the game competently but can’t completely avoid the lowlights of the form. It doesn’t help that the characters are largely stock (the genius scientist hero, the wacky sidekicks, the femme fatale, the corrupt businessman) and that Synchronicity seems very fond of its noir backdrops without quite making the most out of it. At least Chad McKnight is suitably sympathetic as the lead character, with Brianne Davis bringing the heat as the woman who may or may not be an instrument of the antagonist. It’s comfortable, watchable and satisfying without quite going beyond the basics. There are a few better examples of the form out there (Prisoner X, ARQ, even Paradox) if Synchronicity isn’t quite enough.

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