Grim, gripping, and populated with fascinating, flawed characters, Jacob Gentry's Synchronicity shines as a beautifully made, impeccably directed sci-fi drama with all the makings of a cult classic. Synchronicity's strongest asset lies not in its plot progression or direction but in its ability to make us sympathize with characters we know next to nothing about. It's a weird film in just about every respect, but Gentry's direction keeps things taut, focused, and engaging despite the film's offbeat approach.
Physicist Jim Beale (Chad McKnight) has found himself on the brink of an incredible scientific breakthrough. However, the man funding his efforts to create a wormhole, Klaus Meisner (Michael Ironside), insists that Beale share ownership of his machine with him. Further complicating things is the arrival of a young woman named Abby, whom Jim wants to trust but knows he can't. With so much at stake and so many people wanting a piece of his machine, where can he turn?
Synchronicity repeatedly runs the risk of becoming too familiar, but not because of anything within its control. Historically, time-travel stories don't exactly pack the intended punch; they're frequently handled with a sort of blind enthusiasm that muddles both plot and character development to the point of complete confusion. More often than not, the blunders of those who directed sloppier time-travel tales tarnish the genre and give future endeavors by better directors a bad name in advance. It's unfortunate, but it happens too frequently to ignore. Luckily, Synchronicity avoids many of the traps and tropes that plague the genre while still managing to deliver enough mystery, intrigue, and whip-smart dialogue to satiate even the most skeptical viewers.
The film's small, self-contained nature infuses an intimacy into the picture that couldn't possibly have been present otherwise. Sure, there are stakes (it wouldn't be any fun without them), but the film wisely focuses on the relationships between the characters rather than the possibility of a world-ending catastrophe. The film's cast is small but brilliant; again, magnifying the characters rather than the stakes will forever be the smartest filmmaking decision Gentry and his stalwarts could have made.
This is sci-fi not to be overlooked. It's intelligent, mysterious, and absurdly entertaining, and any fan of a good low-budget time-travel flick will eat this up.
4 out of 5 stars