Synchronic (2020)

Though Synchronic is not the eagerly anticipated follow-up to Resolution and The Endless that I’ve been hoping for from the writing/directing duo of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, there’s absolutely no way to consider this movie a disappointment as a fan of their previous work.
It’s refreshing to see this movie was shot and edited with the same blend of hyperreal cinematography and surreal ambiance one might expect from previous work like Spring, Resolution, and The Endless. The ever-improving technical skills and artistic flourishes of Benson/Moorhead and the crews they assemble are readily on display.
Telling the strangely coherent tale of a designer drug that has the capability of transporting users through points in time through influence on the pineal gland could hardly be considered a simple task, but Benson and Moorhead have never shied away from challenging stories and non-linear progressions in the past. Their risk has paid off once again, sharing a story that’s as much a dizzying science fiction narrative as it is an intimate portrait of a man coming to terms with death, the different paths one’s life might take, the lengths one might go to in order to save a friend, and the strain extreme circumstances can take on all types of relationship (specifically friendship, romantic, and working). In short, this movie (like any of their work in the past) succeeds in being simultaneously a perfect combination of its components and more than the sum of its own parts.
This movie nails every conceivable element I could hope for; complete with fantastic performances by Anthony Mackie, Ramiz Monsef, Ally Ioannides, and Jamie Dornan, beautiful choices for filming locations, and a terrific score that reinforces but doesn’t overpower.
The only thing I might have changed is in the writing. I don’t know that I could have avoided shoehorning in just one extra pill for Mackie’s character Steve…because of Hawking.

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