Interview: Director Jacob Gentry on Sci-Fi Shocker SYNCHRONICITY

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SYNCHRONICITY director Jacob Gentry talks to SHOCK.

SYNCHRONICITY is director Jacob Gentry’s newest science fiction thriller. Best-known to genre fans as “one of the directors of that awesome 2007 science fiction film THE SIGNAL”, Gentry has once again paired up with AJ Bowen for this dystopian/crime/noir/time travel/alternate dimensions? story. In addition, Brianne Davis and Michael Ironside co-star in this sordid tale of particles and betrayal. SYNCHRONICITY isn’t as innovative as THE SIGNAL, and it’s missing that magic spark that just seemed to work so well 9 years ago. That’s not to say it’s a bad film – it isn’t. It’s extremely complex, though, and confusing, just the way a proper noir should be (see: THE BIG SLEEP, it doesn’t make any sense).

SYNCHRONICITY is about an innocent physicist who invents time travel and gets caught up in the clutches of a horrible, beautiful femme fatale and the evil mega corporation of rich people she works for. I really love how Marxist this is.

Gentry was kind enough to answer some of our questions about his cool new film which, by the way, really looks amazing, in terms of camera and effects.

SHOCK: I keep hearing “Film Noir” in reference to SYNCHRONICITY; it’s a science fiction tale on the surface, but what makes this a “noir” film? If you replaced the time travel element with, say, “solving a murder” or “amnesia”, like in a true period film noir, what basic elements of SYNCHRONICITY make it part of that genre?

JACOB GENTRY: Some of the basic tenets of film noir are present. The mysterious femme fatale, the conspiratorial heavy with his thumb pressing down, the antihero schlub trying to solve a mystery and getting in way over his head, even the “macguffin” in the form of a Dahlia. But once the science fiction conceit of time travel is introduced, it allows you to turn all these tropes on their head.

SHOCK: The comparison to BLADE RUNNER keeps coming up as well. Instead of comparing the film to BLADE RUNNER, I think what most critics genuinely mean is that the storyline is like something Philip K. Dick would come up with. Was his work an inspiration for this story?

JG: Absolutely. I think that one of the main things missing from most movie adaptations of Dick’s work (except maybe Total Recall) is that satirical sense of humor and the surreality inherent in the paradoxical thought experiments he presents. Most of the comparisons to BLADE RUNNER have been surface level aesthetics, so I really appreciate that you picked up on the other connection. On the conceptual level, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” was much more influential than BLADE RUNNER.

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SHOCK: As always, with time travel and parallel universes and space/time continuums, there is always room for paradoxes and plot holes. Can you point out a time travel paradox plot hole in your own film for us?

JG: This is tough to answer without giving too much away. I wouldn’t necessarily conflate paradoxes with plot holes. “Plot hole” implies that there is some sort of logical inconsistency that takes you out of the movie. My hope is that this movie rewards multiple viewings and if there is a perceived logistical error that it would inspire some good discussion once the credits roll. As far as paradoxes go, I would say keep an eye on the cigarette lighter. Could be an interesting conversation starter.

SHOCK: The film was a selection at major genre festivals like Fantasia. How do genre fans react?

JG: So far it has been great. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much the horror community has embraced the movie. Despite the fact that it’s not a horror movie, it’s been really interesting seeing it crossover in that way.

SHOCK: Did you know Brianne Davis is a director as well as an actress? [she directed the horror films PYCHOPHONIA and THE NIGHT VISITOR 2, both due out in 2016]

JG: I did. I haven’t seen her work yet, but I’m looking forward to it. She went and directed two movies while I was finishing this one! I’m inspired by how prolific she is.

SHOCK: Like most noir films, elements of corruption and urban decay permeate Synchronicity. But like most dystopian sci-fi, evil corporations try to control technology for personal profit. What does the film say about capitalism and oligarchy? How do you relate it to the current system in place in the United States? Is your film satirical, or does it represent any personal beliefs?

JG: There is certainly a degree of satire intended.

SHOCK: Synchronicity seems to function along Marx’s statement, “Society is part of the dialectic of reality.” However, several theories concerning neo-cultural libertarianism may be revealed if we look at the film through Sartre’s use of neo structuralist de-sublimation to deconstruct capitalism. Do you agree or disagree?

JG: I refuse to answer on the grounds that I may incriminate myself.

SHOCK: What is your personal favorite scene in the film?

JG: There is a scene towards the end that is this movie’s version of a sort of heist. I’m always a sucker for a good heist scene.

Watch the trailer for SYNCHRONICITY, out now in the USA!