New Orleans EMTs Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) start to find the calls they are going on lately, stranger and stranger. His own personal issues to deal with, Steve starts to look into it. All roads are pointing to a new designer drug called Synchronic. When Dennis’ daughter Brianna (Ally Ioannides) disappears when doing the drug, Steve begins a journey, with some startling discoveries about Synchronic, that takes him to some equally startling places, as he vows to bring Brianna back.
Trippy and original, sci-fi tinged thriller is from the duo of Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson (Spring, The Endless), who are simply two of the most original and innovative indie filmmakers out there. Synchronic is imaginative, tense and sometimes a little scary, as Steve puts aside his battle with terminal cancer to find best friend Dennis’ daughter. This flick is best enjoyed knowing as little as possible going in so, suffice to say, this new designer drug takes it’s young users to places even they don’t expect and Steve races against time to figure out how it does what it does and how it will lead him to Brianna. Where exactly is she? You’ll have to watch this involving and imaginative flick to find out. Benson and Moorhead add some nice depth to the characters. Steve is a ladies man who is envious of the family Dennis has, while Dennis is a man who doesn’t always appreciate what he’s got. This adds a bit of conflict between the best friends, as does Steve’s terminal brain cancer makes him realize how precious and important life really is. Maybe enough to put his own on the line to help others. Again, there is far more to discuss here, but exact details are better learned from watching this clever and original flick and a highly recommended mind bender it is. There is some graphic violence and the film looks really cool thanks to Aaron Moorhead’s cinematography with Jimmy LaValle adding a very atmospheric score.
The small cast is really solid here. Mackie is great as a man faced with his own mortality, despite looking death in the eye every day as an EMT. When faced with a mystery and a disappearance caused by a dangerous drug with unexpected side effects, he chooses to put his own fragile life on the line to solve that mystery and figure out a way to find his friend’s daughter. The actor owns the role in every facet. Jamie Dornan is likable as Dennis. Sure Dennis sometimes doesn’t appreciate the family life he has at home, but he cares about them and Steve and the two actors have a very realistic bond on screen. Makes their friendship work. Ally Ioannides is good as Dennis’ rebellious daughter, whose use of Synchronic triggers a very unexpected search and rescue attempt by Steve. Katie Aselton is also effective as Dennis’ wife, Tara. A good cast.
Overall, there is a lot to be discussed with this flick, but as it is better enjoyed with it’s mysteries intact, details will remain scarce here. This is an innovative and intelligent thriller with a surprising science fiction element to a designer drug, even it’s own creator (Ramiz Monsef) fears and reviles. It’s intense, it’s thrilling, it has a few scary moments and a few nice WTF moments, too. There is some graphic violence, but none of it comes without some nice depth to the characters and story. The New Orleans settings are well used and Benson and Moorhead solidify their status as two of the most must watch filmmakers in the indie genre scene.
Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) Synchronic pill packages!