82 / 100
Watchable Minutes : 102 / 102. I can’t think of any scenes that would have been worth cutting out of the final movie. Everything fit together well and I enjoyed the slow sweeping transition shots that contributed to the total run time.
Trailer Comparison : The trailer does a good job of selling me on the movie. The tone is matched beat for beat and is very representative of the movie I watched. If I saw this on the big screen as a trailer, it would have sold me on buying a ticket. Thankfully, it is on Netflix so no ticket necessary.
Move or Film : I think that Synchronic focuses 100% on telling a story and not giving me a message. It’s an entertaining 102 minutes with plenty to look at, but there’s nothing below the surface to analyze.
- Run time : 1 hr 42 minutes
- Studio : XYZ Films
- Director : Justin Benson & Adam Moorhead
- Where to Watch : Netflix
In the heart of New Orleans, a new drug called Synchronic is making the rounds in the party scene of the city. Following the destructive path of the drug are two paramedics, Steve and Dennis, who are dispatched to multiple sites where those who have taken the drug have died in mysterious ways. When Dennis’ daughter disappears, it seems that Synchronic may have something to do with it. As the search begins, Steve begins to suspect that Synchronic is more sinister than anybody had thought possible.
Synchronic is a thoroughly enjoyable movie that was released in the pandemic of 2020 (2021? 2022?). Had things been normal, Synchronic probably would have gone on to find modest success at the box office due to the star power of the movie in Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan. However, things were not normal and it was released with little fanfare to streaming services, at least as far as I can remember. After a few months on various streaming services, Synchronic finally landed on Netflix. Not long after its Netflix debut, it became the #1 movie on the streaming giant’s recommendation page for a short time. Synchronic earned my interest in more Benson & Moorhead productions by being entertaining, different, and suitably stylized to create an eerie sci fi experience.
Synchronic is not a confusing story, but it’s not exactly forthcoming with all the relevant details either. You’ve really got to listen and pay attention to the dialogue, which could be a problem because it comes off as a little clunky. Stick with it is all I can say. There was enough there to latch on to to keep me entertained. For example, both the main characters, Steve and Dennis, are damaged by their years as paramedics. Steve is single and lives day by day through meaningless hookups. Dennis deals with the struggles of fatherhood and an unhappy marriage. Neither of them know how to express themselves to their significant other or anybody else for that matter. There’s no way that they can express themselves to each other. While that doesn’t excuse bad writing, it does make up for the clunky dialogue. As for the two leading actors who were delivering that dialogue, I thought that Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan put together a great performance. Their chemistry felt sincere and neither of them overshadowed the other.
With that out of the way, what I enjoyed most about watching Synchronic was the eerie sci fi components of the main story. I thought that the idea was awesome in theory and in practice. Audiences have seen drugs offer super powers (Project Power), enhanced cognitive abilities (Limitless), but I’ve yet to see a movie where the user is sent through time. The application of time travel is one of those things you have to listen to in order to fully understand it. It does matter where you are standing / sitting and the direction you face. The movie doesn’t go into any detail on the influence of verticality on the drug’s time travel abilities and rightfully so. There’s a line where too much detail eats up the run time and overcomplicates things, but Synchronic walks that line perfectly. The only gripes I have with the main story was how the creator of the drug was casually introduced and then removed. I think there could have been some structural changes in the story to include him earlier / give him a greater role. Or he could have been removed entirely and only mentioned as an off screen incident.
I’m new to the Benson and Moorhead filmography (and how they’re all connected in the same universe), but it seems like they have the right stuff to make quality movies. Synchronic has garnered my interest in their projects, past and future. As mentioned above, the writing and dialogue was a tad bit clunky and off putting (unless you can subscribe to my character excuses). I covered that enough to make my point that it could have been better. The cinematography was very appealing and I really liked the transitions and editing choices. The special effects were cleverly disguised behind video recorder screens, an effective cost saving play and it really added to the grit of the movie. On the audio side, the music and scoring was handled well. It felt dark and typical sci fi. I’m a sucker for low synth tones and gritty sounding scores. Benson & Moorhead employed both of those in Synchronic wonderfully.
Overall, I think that Synchronic is a good find for a rainy Saturday night. It was entertaining and interesting in both concept and execution. Benson & Moorhead are a promising duo for whom I look forward to more of their movies and will be diving into their past projects. Pause your 32nd rewatch of the Office and watch Synchronic instead.
If you like this, check out :
- I Am Legend
- It Comes at Night
- The Witch