New Orleans's own Anthony Mackie stars in the New Orleans-shot science-fiction thriller Synchronic, which plays like a crackling-good episode of The Twilight Zone.
Mackie plays Steve, a burned-out paramedic. On the job, he and his partner Dennis (Jamie Dornan) keep encountering bizarre deaths that are associated with a new designer drug called Synchronic. Meanwhile, Steve is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The plot eventually leads to time travel and the search across time for Dennis's missing daughter (Ally Ioannides). From the get-go, the film has an ominous tone, so the transition from mystery/thriller to science fiction is very smooth.
Synchronic is directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who specialize in low-budget but well-crafted science-fiction movies. One of their best is 2014's Spring, which is kind of a cross between Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise (1995) and John Carpenter's The Thing (1982).
The plot here is gripping, and Mackie is excellent in a well-written role. We completely understand his character and the choices he makes, and, of course, a movie works best when we understand and care about the protagonist.
So, maybe there could have been a little less philosophizing, and perhaps the pacing could have been a smidge tighter, but that's just nitpicking. With the constant regurgitation of sequels, remakes, and the dreaded reboots, we need to embrace a movie like Synchronic, which is smart and original.
Synchronic is in theaters now.
*** Stars (Out of Four)