Gilbert Speaks on Benson & Moorehead’s ‘Synchronic’

If only we could travel back in time, right? But the past may not be as friendly as you may assume…and you may not make it back. When two paramedics, working the night shift in New Orleans, handle a series of strange deaths linked to a designer drug, they are forced to investigate the connection between this drug and a missing family member.


Synchronic, which is a science fiction film directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, and stars Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Ally Ioannides, Katie Aselton, and Bill Oberst Jr. The film follows two New Orleans paramedics as they go about their nightly assignments of taking care of the injured, which includes a lot of drug overdoses.

Dennis Dannelly (Jamie Dornan) is a married father with an eighteen-year-old teenager, and an infant daughter. He is worried that his marriage is getting stale, and that his wife Tara (Katie Aselton) will leave him. His partner and lifelong friend, Steve (Anthony Mackie) is constantly pointing out the foolishness of his friend’s concerns.

Steve and Dennis work the night shift which means that they get some pretty weird calls. On one of the calls, they are required to handle a woman with a snake bite. The woman’s boyfriend is found at the bottom of an elevator shaft. They had taken a designer drug called Synchronic. On another call, they tend to a man who was stabbed by a corroded antique sword. All these people were using Synchronic, but this drug doesn’t just make people high…it opens a portal into time.


While Dennis constantly fears that his marriage is falling apart, Steve learns that he is dealing with a terminal brain tumor. The doctor also notes that Steve’s pineal gland had never matured and remains the consistency of a young person’s. The chemo he is taking makes him violently sick, but for some reason, he withholds this information from Dennis. Steve carries some trauma with him, and this is due to an unfortunate personal incident that happened during Hurricane Katrina.

There is a special relationship between Steve and Dennis. They are more than work partners. They are soul brothers because of the lifesaving work they do each and every night shift. My husband was a Philadelphia Fire Fighter and Paramedic, so I know firsthand about the bond between these men and women who are called on to stabilize a severely injured patient before rushing them to the hospital. The bond between firefighters, paramedics and police partners is almost as strong as the bonds of marriage. This is what we witness with Steve and Dennis. When Dennis’ daughter Brianna (Ally Ioannides) vanishes after using the drug. Our two paramedics go on their own hunt to find her.


Realizing that Synchronic is somehow the source of Brianna’s disappearance, Steve buys up all the remaining packages of Synchronic. Steve is approached by Dr. Kermani (Ramiz Monsef) the man who invented this drug. Kermani is also trying to find and destroy the remaining supply of the drug after he realized what the drug can do to young adults because their pineal glands are not fully mature yet. Kermani explains to Steve that time is not linear and that the drug is a means to travel back into time. Although Synchronic can transport people to different times in the past, the effects last for only seven minutes, but if you are killed in the past…oh well.

Pulling on his knowledge of physics, Steve takes the designer drug and travels back into time, always landing in different eras and…none of them friendly. Steve is desperate to find his friend’s daughter even if it means sacrificing his life. This is a well-done science fiction film, with an unexpected ending.

You can’t go wrong with the directing talents of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, or the outstanding acting by Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie. Granny gives it a 5 star review.

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