Review

'Synchronicity' needs a jump back in time to fix the script

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.

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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.

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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.

'Synchronicity'

MPAA rating: R, for language including some sexual references

Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes

Playing: Sundance Sunset, West Hollywood. Also on VOD.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on January 22, 2016, in the Entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Playing with time in a messy way - `SYNCHRONICITY'" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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