Toronto After Dark Review: Synchronicity

The second night of Toronto After Dark is dedicated to Science Fiction. The first screening, Synchronicity, won Best Sci-Fi at the Fantasia film festival.

This sophomore film from writer/director/editor Jacob Gentry known for his 2007 film “The Signal” that was well received at Sundance. Gentry dives into the science fiction tropes of time travel with the help of a rare dalia flower and a lighter that’s out of gas.

Gentry is working with many of the team from “The Signal” including producers, unit directors, and several actors like his lead Chad McKnight (Officer Wilson on ER) who plays physicist Jim Beale, and AJ Bowen (known in the genre for such films as You’re Next) who plays Jim’s assistant. This small cast, including Michael Ironside as the industrialist investor, split time between the gritty factory lab, and clean white lines of a future architecture that forces the characters to feel small.


Scott Poythress (Dr. Thatcher on Turn) plays Matty, Jim’s other assistant, who is clearly somewhere on the autism spectrum, but that is used to inform his delivery style, and gives a fun moment where he calms down by singing the numbers of pi. Matty is smart with theories, but faces challenges with human interaction and is somewhat directionally challenged.

Matty and AJ’s character, Chuck, are more than Jim’s assistants. They are also his friends. All three are scientists working on worm holes that are powered by the earth’s spin, but opened with a rare compound. Of course this compound is only created by a corporation run by Klaus Meisner (Ironside).  The moments with the three scientists together often leavens the broodiness of Jim’s other interactions.

And for a proper noir, there must be a femme fatale. This role is played by Brianne Davis (Belinda  in True Blood). In noir fashion, she is both more and less than she appears. Although I do love any character that champions Nikola Tesla.

The story, like most time travel films, is layered and slowly unravels as Jim faces repressions from the second test, even before that test is completed. The script sometimes relies on some trite lines and expected situations, but manages to rise above that.

Despite being produced guerrilla style with few permits and fewer takes, the look of the film is rich whether it is with the very DIY lab, or the sleek buildings in the city. This film does manage what many reference but few achieve, a real Blade Runner aesthetic.

So, if you like your time travel on the gritty side. And you don’t mind a little confused romance in your sci-fi, the good news is that Synchronicity has found distribution and should be available in the new year!

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