Time travel has become a go-to plot driver for low-budget science-fiction, perhaps because it doesn't require a lot of expensive special effects. All the actors have to do is say, "Well, here we are, three days ago."
There's a lot of "well, here we are"-ing in writer-director Jacob Gentry's "Synchronicity," a dialogue-heavy genre exercise that's smart about the philosophical implications of messing with the timeline but sophomoric when it comes to telling a good story.
Chad McKnight stars as Jim Beale, a brilliant physicist so driven to complete his wormhole experiments that he sells a large stake in his company to cynical capitalist Klaus Meisner (played by the wonderfully oily Michael Ironside). Beale becomes so paranoid about Meisner's intentions — and about the sudden, suspicious appearance of an attractive young woman in his life — that he returns to the past to investigate.
With each trip, "Synchronicity" gets denser with explanations (and dialogue), until the wonky science eventually begins to crowd out the moody atmosphere.
The bigger issue, though, is Gentry's conception of the woman, Abby (Brianne Davis), a femme fatale who somehow turns Beale's nerdy lectures into seductive double-entendres. Abby's meant to give the movie pulpy texture and emotional weight but, instead, makes the hero look like a lovesick twit.
"Synchronicity" begins promisingly, with a retro synthesizer score and 1980s-style credits suggesting something fun and self-aware. But after an hour or so of bad noir dialogue and convoluted plotting, viewers may wish they could jump back in time and watch something else.
MPAA rating: R, for language including some sexual references
Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Playing: Sundance Sunset, West Hollywood. Also on VOD.