Fantastic film about time travel. Playing dangerous games, you can lose your life or get stuck in a strange era.
The loving couple nestled comfortably on the bed, their arms intertwined. Smiling approvingly, the man takes the pill, the woman follows suit. The decor of the hotel room is changing. A shocked blonde falls into the jungle, a ferocious native looks at her with a menacing look. The woman trembles in a silent scream, a poisonous snake is rapidly crawling towards her. She is echoed by a lover who has fallen into the hot embrace of a vast desert.
Two ambulance paramedics rush to another call. In a spooky den, they find an overdosed girl and a man wounded by a huge cleaver. Paramedics are old friends, they talk heart to heart.
Steve, portrayed by Anthony Mackie, comes to Dennis (Jamie Dornan) for a family holiday. Steve is the godfather of his partner’s eldest daughter, Brianna (Ellie Ioannides). She sits on a huge boulder with the word “always” scratched into it.
The working day brings an unpleasant surprise, an ambulance arrived at an unusual scene. Instead of the victim, doctors found a charred corpse, the policeman suggests careless handling of fire or self-immolation. Near the body they find a package already familiar from the first call with the inscription “Synchronist”.
Steve is crushed by the horrifying news he has cancer. He is in no hurry to share the trouble with a friend. Rescuers arrived at a cheap hotel, to the already familiar sweet couple. The woman, paralyzed with terror, cannot utter a word. She was bitten by a snake, based on teeth marks, presumably a rhombic rattlesnake, which became extinct in this area many years ago. The dismembered remains of a lover were found in an elevator shaft. The mysterious “Synchronist” left a trace again.
Steve’s disease is not typical, the tumor is located above the pineal gland, which has not completely hardened, which is also considered a pathology. The doctor gives a disappointing prognosis, the patient has only a few months left to live, and insists on immediate chemotherapy.
Brianna is going through a difficult period, she has an identity crisis, and she is trying to sort herself out. A confused girl tries a drug and disappears, Dennis and Steve learn about it when they arrive at a call on a university campus. And again the package from the mysterious pill. A dark-skinned man goes to a store that sells an intoxicating drug and picks up the entire batch. The stranger tries to buy drugs for a lot of money, but the doctor refuses.
An unknown person pursues a paramedic, he turns out to be a chemist who developed a dangerous substance. Dr. Kermani (Ramiz Moncef) revealed that a synthetic drug allows time travel. Adolescents, whose pineal gland has not yet hardened, risk being left in the past forever. Steve kicks the pharmacist out. Later it turns out that the unfortunate doctor committed suicide.
Relations between partners deteriorate. Dennis is worried about the loss of his daughter, his wife is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Dunnelly suspects a friend of stealing morphine, a fight breaks out between them.
Maki’s character decides to try Synchronic on himself. The movement in the time continuum happened, he found himself in a swamp, and the crocodile and the warlike conquistador simultaneously wanted to “get acquainted” with the uninvited guest. The man woke up in his own apartment. He decides to return the missing goddaughter, and again takes the drug. The Ice Age has become another location that the paramedic got to. He reveals a surprising pattern: the end point of teleportation depends on the place where the temporary tourist was. The tester carefully prepared for the next mission – he grabbed firewood, changed into warm clothes. He managed to “make friends” with primitive man.
Experiments continue. The traveler wants to find out if it is possible to move objects in time and space. As “luggage” he uses a dog. The settlement of the Ku Klux Klans met the black guest inhospitably, he barely escaped, and the dog remained in another century. The tester realized that 7 minutes is the limit for being in another world. Physical contact is necessary to take an object from the past.
Steve drove to the dorm where the student was last seen. “Synchronic” worked flawlessly, the physician “landed” in a forest clearing, where the occultists performed an outlandish rite. The man almost became a victim of the pagans. After returning from a dangerous tour, the tourist found out that Brianna could have taken the drug anywhere.
A frank conversation took place between the partners, the hero Maki told the inconsolable father about the daring plan to save the girl. The final journey began with the “eternal stone”. Steve found himself on the battlefield. He found the missing one, gave the only pill. Brianna teleported to the present day and threw herself into her father’s arms. The soldier intercepted the paramedic and prevented him from reaching the boulder. A flickering image of a black man appears in the present, and a grateful friend shakes his hand tightly.
The meaning of the film
The main message of the picture is contained in a capacious phrase, which was voiced by the leading character: “The past sucks.” The authors reinforce the idea with gloomy pictures of bygone events. For Dennis, this statement is controversial, his memories keep the bright moments of happy family everyday life. Simple worldly wisdom can reconcile opponents – do not rely on the past and live in the present.
The joint work of directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead raised the question of the weakness of character, the inability to withstand the blows of fate. Adults and adolescents succumb to difficulties, and do not find anything better than to forget under the influence of intoxicating substances.
The courageous work of the heroes is an extra reminder of how fragile life is, and, balancing on the edge, you can fall into the abyss. The directorial duet of Benson and Moorhead showed the wrong side of the profession of paramedics – selfless rescuers, calmly and casually pulling the poor fellows from the other world, ordinary people with many problems. The theme of eternal values, harmony, loneliness, marital fidelity, the upbringing of children runs like a red thread through the entire plot. Two friends with different statuses, one is an inveterate bachelor, the other is the head of the family, share the sorrows and joys of their position.
The film also raises the racial issue – Maki’s character encounters the Ku Klux Klansmen, the soldier calls him a slave.
Characteristics of the main characters
Steve is a man in his prime, he is lonely, his parents and sister died. The protagonist seeks solace in alcohol, he lacks the courage to admit to a fatal illness, he hides it from his best friend and his mistress. He does not want to slowly fade away and decides to save his goddaughter. He abandoned the struggle for his own life and chose risky activities – “jumping” into the past.
Dennis Dunnelly is a controversial personality. Outwardly harmonious marriage keeps many omissions. He loves his wife and his girls, but in heart-to-heart conversations he complains about everyday difficulties. Dornan’s hero quickly loses hope for the return of his daughter. Desperate, does not support his wife in a difficult situation.
Tara Dunnelly is a caring mother. He is unaware of the passions that boil in the soul of a spouse. Breaks down after the loss of the older child, does not control emotions.
Brianna is a characteristic girl, striving for independence. She can’t choose her own path, the future scares her. A little cynical, likes to be alone.
The fantastic thriller is based on a hackneyed plot – a journey into the past and self-sacrifice. The creators of the film brought one “zest” – not a banal time machine – miraculous pills. The practical side of the effect of the drug does not stand up to criticism, how do substances that affect the psyche push the time frame? There are also questions to the chemist, who ingloriously passed away into eternity. Instead of making a splash with a revolutionary discovery, he hastily destroys the remnants of the party. The shortsightedness of the pioneer is striking. Before moving, it would be nice to get acquainted with the history of your native land, and take care not only of firewood and a warm jacket, but also of weapons.
The thoughtful inscription on the wall: “Time is a lie” was intended to set up thriller lovers in a philosophical way, but this gun did not fire either.
The abundance of dialogues that reveal the secrets of the relationship between the characters do not carry any semantic load and weigh down not the most dynamic scenario.
The indisputable advantage of the film is the accurately conveyed oppressive atmosphere. Desperately longing for bright colors, but the viewer sees only a gray faceless world – and the sky is not at all blue, and the greenery on the trees is faded, and the sun disk in the fiery desert is dim. The poignant musical score, credited to composer Jimmy LaValla, amplifies the tension.
The open ending caters to happy endings and skeptics alike. The first will convince that, thanks to the unhardened epiphysis and the strong hand of a friend, the character materializes in the present. The latter can retort that, having flickered a little, the brave hero will sink into oblivion.