Thursday, October 22, 2020

Synchronic - Movie Review

The Movie: Synchronic

The Directors: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

The Cast: Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Katie Aselton, Ally IIoannides

The Story: Two New Orleans paramedics' lives are ripped apart after they encounter a series of horrific deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects.

The Review:
Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead are really good at telling unique stories within the world of genre filmmaking. Their science fiction horror film The Endless came out a couple years ago to critical acclaim, it was the first time I got to see one of their movies and I was thoroughly impressed. A lot of filmmakers, usually thanks to studio pressure, play it safe and avoid going deep into genre rabbit holes because the movies need to be accessible or something or whatever. Benson and Moorhead have no such reservations and they trust their audience to be on board as well.

Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie are both very well known among Hollywood superstars and the films they have been in have been insanely successful. To see them in an indie project like this is really cool and their performances are much more than just actors showing up to take a paycheck. There's a lot going on in this movie and Mackie especially is expected to do some serious heavy lifting while dealing with layers of storytelling. Mackie of course has proven that he can hold his own so no issue there, he's great. Then when you put them together, there's a familiarity and a bond and a brotherly love that is a lot of fun to watch and honestly quite endearing.

Yes, this is science fiction and yes, the story tackles social issues, emotional issues, relationship issues, mental health issues, and substance abuse issues. With all of those issues, you might think this is some really heavy stuff that will bog down the story and yet it's all seamlessly woven into the characters and it all just works. This also isn't a big special effects filled action movie so don't go looking for that although there are more than a few scenes that will make genre fans really happy. The look and feel of the movie is very intentional as it's meant to lean into a potential dark, dystopian future although not quite there yet.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm not telling you anything about the science fiction and fantasy elements of the movie and that's because there are layers and layers of reveals and I don't want to spoil any of it for you. Just trust me when you say there's a lot more going on that what you are expecting and you will enjoy all of it.

The Verdict:
Synchronic is a really good science fiction/fantasy movie that tells a very human story. It's dark and will mess with your emotions and yet it's also very heroic and inspiring thanks to the characters and the actors who play them. I liked this movie a lot and I look forward to seeing what Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead might have in store for us next.

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