Film noir is a film genre that is not as popular as it once was with mainstream audiences. Barring films like Sin City (which was released nearly 10 years ago) the genre hasn’t exactly enjoyed any box office success in recent years. Jacob Gentry is attempting to change that with his new sci-fi noir Synchronicity, a technically impressive film with a twisty plot that falls flat in terms of its characters.
In the future, physicist Jim Beale (Chad McKnight) performs a test run of his time machine to impress investor Klaus Meisner (Michael Ironside). After it supposedly fails, he meets Abby (Brianne Davis), whom he eventually comes to believe is on a mission to steal his research for the time machine and pass it off as her own. In an attempt to stop her, he uses himself as a human test subject and travels back in time himself to stop her from succeeding in her task.
I will confess that film noir is not exactly my favorite genre. I’ve never particularly warmed to it and to be honest, I find it all a little dull so I may not be the best person to review this film. That being said, Synchronicity is a very well-made film that should please fans of the genre.
The world that Gentry has constructed here is gorgeous for a film with such a low budget. It feels like it could belong in the same universe as Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Filmed with a bleak color palette of blues and grays, Synchronicity lends itself to the noir style. There is also no shortage of scenes featuring characters having a conversation in a dark room with rays of light from a blinded window hitting their face.
All of the actors dive into their roles with aplomb, with Michael Ironside chewing the scenery in the best way possible. As the possible femme fatale, Brianne Davis exudes a confident sexuality while also displaying the necessary amount of vulnerability. Chad McKnight, rejoining his The Signal co-star AJ Bowen on screen for the first time since 2007, proves to be a compelling lead. If only his character wasn’t so dense.
The character of Jim is the problem with Synchronicity. For being a physicist, he sure isn’t very smart. Throughout the course of the entire film, his revelations come long after the audience has already had theirs. This may just be a necessary evil of the genre, but it makes the film less engrossing than it should be. There really aren’t that many surprises in Synchronicity, barring one turn of events in the final act that may elicit a few gasps.
The film also gets bogged down in the romantic subplot between Jim and Abby, which slows the film down in places. Davis and McKnight have chemistry with each other, but their romance just isn’t that interesting which it hurts the film tremendously.
Overall Synchronicity is a beautiful film to look at and it has the technical merits to warrant a viewing, but it doesn’t really do anything new with the genre and it drags quite a bit in the middle. Still, die-hard fans of sci-fi or noir will find plenty of things to enjoy.
Synchronicity will be given a limited theatrical release along with VOD and iTunes on January 22, 2016.