Synchronic (2020)

The idea of a designer drug zapping young people into a different time/space continuum stretches logic, but the patient storytelling of the sci-fi drama Synchronic sells it.
Our Rating

Genre(s): Drama, Science Fiction, Horror

Director: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

Actors: Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Katie Aselton

Year: 2019

MPAA Rating: R

Country: USA

New Orleans paramedics and longtime best pals Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) have seen everything on their rounds. But lately there has been a weird trend of young people overdosing while simultaneously suffering from bizarre wounds like exotic snake bites and impalements from strange knives. As the witnesses are stoned out of their gourd, no one has any explanation… but Steve notices that they all have a discarded wrapper for a synthetic drug called Synchronic. It isn’t until some of the young people disappear after taking the drug, including Dennis’ teenage daughter Brianna, that Steve takes it upon himself to delve further into the mystery of Synchronic.

As seen in the trailer, the world(s) of this film are truly psychedelic, dealing with time/space rifts in the psyche. In fact, I was relieved to find that the movie and story itself is a lot easier to follow than the trailer. Synchronic is a patient storyteller, introducing us to the deep, long friendship between the two men, and their personal stakes when Brianna disappears. Steve’s experiments with the drug lead him to theories on how to find Brianna, which he documents and films each time for safety’s sake. I appreciated the deliberate steps in logic, pushing the science to the forefront is what is (hopefully) fiction. And who doesn’t want to believe something when it is Anthony Mackie explaining it?

Sure, there are some silly assumptions, for drama’s sake. Like if you were to be zapped to another blip in the time/space continuum, why do you always land in a spot where the locals are right there waiting to kill you? Why not just land in an empty field? But other than some minor quibbles, the film takes itself refreshingly seriously, with the heavy cloud of mortality hanging over the story. When the characters finally… well… synchronize, the story has earned surprising weight and emotion for all the characters involved.


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