Benson and Moorhead’s Synchronic continues the directing duos growth as storytellers and visualist.
Synchronic is another adventure in the world that Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead started with their splashy debut Resolution. Though you won’t need to have seen that or The Endless to enjoy this trippy sci-fi thriller. Though, fans of those two films will be rewarded for their viewership. The additional of stars Anthony Mackie and Jamie Doran will add new soon-to-be fans that will ultimately want to go back to the other work of this keenly intelligent writer/director pair.
New Orleans paramedics Steve (Mackie) and Dennis (Doran) have seen a lot in their line of work. Nothing prepares them for the deaths caused by the new synthetic drug called Synchronic. People appear to have fallen fifteen stories in their bedroom, sword wounds from 17th-century sabers, burnt alive during a rainstorm. Things take a turn for the personal when Dennis’ daughter (Ally Ioannides) goes missing and was to have known to have used Synchronic. As Dennis and his wife (Katie Aselton) search normally, Steve finds alternate means of searching tied to Synchronic. With time and Synchronic running out Steve brings Dennis into his search of his best friend’s daughter. One that he does not believe.
It cannot be overstated that one does not have to see any of Benson and Moorhead’s filmography to enjoy the visual and clever sci-fi conceit. The script is written as a standalone story with only the barest of ties (one that would be apparent to their fans). Synchronic is an intelligent a sci-fi premise and execution of said premise in recent memory. There is a Back to the Future simplicity to the concept that allows audiences to instantly follow everything no matter how strange is occurring on screen.
Part of the success of the film falls on Mackie and his star power. The actor is center stage here as Steve the paramedic that’s reality has bent in a way he was not expecting. Mackie brings his wit, humor, and magnetism to a role that requires much of the actor. The star makes things look easy as multiple things unravel on screen at once and are required to play varying emotions at once.
Synchronic is bold science fiction at its most intelligent and accessible. Something that any fan of Benson and Moorhead are well are of. One can hope that this film’s commercial appeal widens the fanbase for this very special directing partnership.