How many times haven’t we heard ‘carpe diem’? Probably way too much. But how many days do we really seize? Probably not enough. Mostly because we take our lives and days for granted, but if there’s one thing the two paramedics Steve and Dennis from Boston know like no other, it’s that life can be over in an instant. Day in, day out, they are being confronted with death, and while they’re trying to beat that darkness with joy, family and hours at the local bar, it’s easier said than done. That’s being proven in Synchronic, the latest movie from directors Justin Benson (The Endless, Spring) and Aaron Moorhead (Spring, The Endless). While this film reminds us that life, friendship, and family are vital, it also reminds us that time-bending movies always balance the wire of uniqueness and over-the-top.
When the light at the end of the tunnel becomes darker
A man in the living room with a gunshot wound or a woman on the brink of an OD in the kitchen is sadly nothing unfamiliar to Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan). While the two paramedics and friends saw already gruesome scenes and wounds during their days, they couldn’t have predicted what life has in store for them. After coming across many unexplainable and unrelatable instances, such as a hallucinating woman bitten by a ‘should-be extinct’ snake or a man catching fire by himself, they find the link that connects all of them: A drug called Synchronic.
While Dennis and Steve are descending into the strange world of Synchronic and the shocking findings that come with it, they both have to fight a dark battle on a personal front as well. While this only hasn’t impacted their mental and physical state, it also affects their friendship in a big way. For one, the only solution seems to descend into the dark spiral of Synchronic himself…
Both highs and severe lows
Some drugs give you extreme highs, and some give you severe lows (at least I heard) and this movie hands you pretty much the same. There are highlights and let-downs in it, and this duality becomes clear even more when you look at the overall movie. The first part of Synchronic focusses much more on the emotional relationships and the impending death while during the second part, the movie turns into a time-bending, sci-fi and time-travelling film with a dark edge. Your emotional and personal rollercoaster turns into a dark and head-spinning one, one that abruptly stops.
Because of the change in the direction, topics and overall vibe of the movie, you need to have some terrific leads who can pull off every aspect and emotion of their character. Well, luckily for Benson and Moorhead, they found Mackie and Dornan who prove to make a great match and who certainly know how to create a beautiful and heartwarming friendship and brotherhood on-screen. It’s without a doubt Mackie (Avengers: Endgame, Detroit) who steals the show in the movie. He portrays every emotion on the spectrum, mostly because his character goes onto the fastest and highest rollercoaster possible. Whether it’s from showing the emotional strength that a paramedic needs to the feelings of uncertainty, confusion, anger, defeat and sadness, Mackie puts it out there wonderfully.
He gets excellent support from Dornan (A Private War, The Fall), who doesn’t only even more emotions to this movie (in a more restrained way because of Dennis’ character) but who also gives this movie the edgy and mysterious vibe it needs. It’s just a shame that the emotions and performances aren’t coming through as much as they could have because of the relatively fast editing.
That speedy editing is both a curse and a blessing for this movie. On the one hand, it makes it harder for the audience to connect with the characters and the emotions, but on the other hand, it heightens that sci-fi and world-spinning feeling of the movie.
Low, high, and then totally out of control
When taking a pill, you probably go throughout a million emotions and feelings all in once, and your thoughts are racing at high speed. Well, that’s actually what watching Synchronic does to you as well. During the first few minutes, it feels very slow, but then after some brief moments, it picks up the pace, and from then on, it becomes a fast rollercoaster that takes you to a peculiar world.
Synchronic is available on digital platforms from the 29th of January.
Rating: (3 / 5)
Also Read: Mark J Blackman’s 5 Must See Sci-Fi Films