(directors: Justin Benson/Aaron Moorhead; screenwriter: Justin Benson; cinematographer: Aaron Moorhead; editors: Michael Felker/Justin Benson/Aaron Moorhead; music: Jimmy LaValle; cast:  Anthony Mackie (Steve), Jamie Dornan (Dennis), Katie Aselton (Tara), Ally Ioannides (Brianna Dannelly), Ramiz Monsef (Dr. Kermani ), Bill Oberst Jr. (The Looter), Betsy Holt (Leah), Shane Brady (Travis), Matthew Underwood (Officer Beaumont), Carl Palmer (Officer Jacobs), Jean-Pierre Vertus (Skeleton Man); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Michael Mendelsohn, David Lawson Jr., Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead; Rustic Films/Well Go USA; 2019)


Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An oddball time-travel thriller co-directed by Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead (“The Endless”), with Benson writing the clever script that unfortunately gets too silly to be believable. It might play better for the home viewer than the theater goer, who is more demanding.

The black bachelor loner and ladies man Steve (Anthony Mackie) and his white married friend Dennis (Jamie Dornan), who has an infant and a teenage daughter and a wife Tara (Katie Aselton) he’s not in love with, work together as New Orleans ambulance paramedics. They’re alarmed after called to a gruesome crime scene where all those involved used a new designer drug called Synchronic. It seems this deadly pill has hit the streets of New Orleans, with users dying or disappearing.

One day, Dennis’s rebellious 18-year-old daughter Brianna (Ally Ioannides) disappears after attending a party where the strange drug was taken. Dennis’s buddy reacts by running around the city buying up all that’s left of Synchronic in the hopes no one else can take the deadly pill. He finds the creator of the pill, Dr. Kermani (Ramiz Monsef), in the drug shop he owns, and finds out that the drug is
a “time-travel pill.”  Thinking the pill might help his medical condition, Steve takes it and it connects with his pineal gland. He finds it might not only help him but give him the ability to find Brianna. Steve believe she’s stuck in a hostile time warp in the past and that he’s willing to risk his life to save hers.

It might be fine for some if they believe this horsesh-t. I couldn’t. I just found it superficial, being positive on only a few occasions–like when promoting sacrificing your self for another. The characters were poorly developed (though the acting was good). But the time-travel scenes were senseless, dark  and too short to make any lasting impressions.

Jamie Dornan, left, and Anthony Mackie in “Synchronic.”

REVIEWED ON 10/29/2020  GRADE:  C+