If pressed to discuss dialogue as a quality of film, the kind that allows the characters to jump off the screen and become someone else, a few choice directors like Robert Altman and Quentin Tarantino come to mind.
Justin Benson, writer and director of the movie Synchronic, should be on that list, too.
Dennis (Jamie Dornan) and Anthony (Steve Denube) are a pair of EMTs that have seen it all, been through hell and back, and are completely burnt out. When a new synthetic drug starts bringing them to parties where people are dying in new and imaginative ways, even disappearing completely after taking it, Anthony has seen enough, and finally gives in, allowing his personal drug habit to get the best of him. He samples the drug.
Mind-bending isn’t quite the word. More like tripping balls. The unreal cinematography that would make the movie worth watching on its own, but there’s something more than psychedelic going on. The drug interacts with people’s pineal glands, children especially, allowing them to time travel for seven minutes. Each spot they take the drug in, even one foot left or right, takes them to a specific historical time and place.
History is, by and large, an ugly place. Swamps with Native Americans, Klansmen, and other scenarios end horribly with Anthony escaping by the skin of his teeth.
Realizing how dangerous the drug is, Anthony hits up every headshop in the city, buying every dose he can find, because it turns out his partner’s daughter has gone missing. After some excellent experiments, the only question is, where exactly did she take the drug?
Each trip is a blast, both a visual feast and unexpected, but throughout the film, it was the crackling dialogue of the movie that made it impossible to look away, and the ending packed an emotional punch.
The only knock on it was, for some reason, a few scenes felt like watching a TV show rather than a movie, or like two actors being filmed on a play set, but I think it was just that the juxtaposition of those scenes with highly-stylized drug sequences was a little jarring. Again, the acting carried the movie though. Something that is all too rare for a high concept film like this.
4/5 Stars. This one is worth watching.