PrintE-mail Written by Nick Spacek

How do you waste Michael Ironside? The new film, Synchronicity, written and directed by Jacob Gentry, manages to somehow do so. The film takes place in the near future, where physicist Jim Beale (played by Chad McKnight) is attempting to perfect time travel. The film is structured in such a way that it's intended to reward successive viewings so that lots of temporal anomalies and doubling back can be seen in full. 

It's difficult to imagine wanting to watch this film more than once. While the film manages to do a lot with its slim budget – making everything look appropriately Blade Runner-esque, without nearly the budget, nor the time – the script doesn't allow for the actors to generate any serious amount of range. Physicist Beale meets up with supposed femme fatale Abbie (Brianne Davis), and they immediately fall for one another, or he falls for her, or she for him – again, the characters are so sketchily drawn as to not need names. 

Beale could just as easily have been called ‘the awkward-yet-handsome doctor,’ with Abbie named ‘the gorgeous woman with an unknown past,’ because that's about as far as they get. Gentry is obviously attempting to ape the more noir-ish elements of Blade Runner, turning this into something along the lines of The Big Sleep, but it's really just a snooze. McKnight's Beale is so rumpled as to remind one of a hungover Sam Rockwell, and the fact that gentry gives him un-ironic phrases to deliver like ‘nefarious scheme’ don't make his job any easier. 

For all the double-crossing is all manipulated by Ironside's Klaus Meisner, and his character is one of two in Synchronicity which manages to appear like they're awake and ready to do something, rather than laze about and confusingly pinball from set piece to set piece. Sadly, the character of Meisner is never really given a chance to fully become the villain of the film, and only comes close in a single one-on-one encounter with Beale. 

A. J. Bowen's scientist assistant character, Chuck, is the other bright spot in the film's acting. He gets all the funny lines – “Time-traveling made that guy a real asshole” is but one of the highlights – and it just seems like he's the only one who really understands, both as an actor and a character, exactly how ridiculously absurd all of this is. Here's to hoping he breaks out of the second banana role he plays here and in films like House of the Devil, and gets more starring bits like The Sacrament. 

Ben Lovett's score is also evocative of Blade Runner. Much like Vangelis, Lovett works in the blank spaces, letting his music say a lot by being as sparse as possible. Still, it manages to get its influences right, and does what it does ably, if not particularly originally. Essentially, what one walks away from Synchronicity with is an appreciation for every scene with Bowen, and a strong desire to watch Blade Runner. We recommend the latter. 



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