Providing the theory once again that love is the most important and rarest element in the universe, the experimental science found in Jacob Gentry’s Synchronicity results in a trippy noir that’s more heartbreaking than mind-bending. Never taking the real physics involved in creating a wormhole too seriously or making the central romance more profound than it needs to be, the film finds a rare, self-aware tone featuring flashes of comedy that turns a fairly familiar sci-fi premise into something more than just a moody homage to dystopian classics like Blade Runner.

Even though evil tycoon Klaus Meisner (Ironside) lives firmly inside a hopeless world where the side with the money always wins, eccentric physicist Jim Beale (McKnight) refuses to be just another object that Meisner can control, especially when he’s so close to cracking the secrets of time travel by creating a wormhole with his buddies, Chuck (Bowen) and Matty (Scott Poythress). Ironside’s Klaus thinks he’s always in control because he oversees a dark future from high above, but the unmovable force of Jim’s determination makes his mad scientist a hopeful one that breaks the mold of dystopian sci-fi.

Then, to move expectations even more, AJ Bowen puts his infectious likability into play, throwing out great one-liners courtesy of a sharp script by Gentry. The one variable that will ultimately determine if Synchronicity becomes a melancholy story or a hopeful one is the dream-like character of Abby (Davis), a striking woman who’s under Meisner’s thumb even though she has to explore the strange attraction she has with Jim.

The first time the wormhole is fired up, a rare dahlia flower passes through mysteriously, setting off the central riddle of Synchronicity and the undeniable parallel between the exotic flower and Abby’s own elusiveness. Next to McKnight’s manic portrayal of Jim (a performance that should remind you of Jeffrey Combs), Davis’ performance as Abby is a lightening rod, and her omnipotent stare is almost hypnotic during some scenes. Whether she’s being coy or secretly putting things into motion is the pressing question that grounds the film’s mystery once the time travel aspect becomes more and more complicated.

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