Arq Review

Arq (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier 


Director: Tony Elliott
Writer: Tony Elliott
Stars: Robbie Amell, Rachael Taylor, Shaun Benson

Plot:  Trapped in a lab and stuck in a time loop, a disoriented couple fends off masked raiders while harboring a new energy source that could save humanity.

Running Time: 1 hour 28 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics  60%   Audience  46%

Why I watched it: The trailer looked pretty good and of course it was genre, I need a better reason.

Thoughts: This was a Netflix Original so didn’t know much more than what I say on the trailer and I have to say this was the first time I saw something Robbie Amell was in.

What I liked: Let’s get to the big thing first, the time loop, yes this is a Groundhog Day like gimmick, time is repeating but they do it in a clever way and they explain it with science. What I like about how they use the gimmick is that we and the main character learn more every time the loop starts again.  So it’s not just him figuring out what to do not to get killed he learns twists and turns to the story as we do and I thought that was clever, so as we go we find out who the masked men are and why their doing it.  The film is also set in the future so they use that as well the technology and some other things are different.  They built the story nicely, the tension and the mystery grows the more we know which is hard to do once you now what’s behind the curtain the mystery and dread  is gone.

The acting is pretty good across the board, Robbie Amell has a tough job he has to do scenes over and over but he also has to shown he knows more than he did the last time around, so it’s a performance that has to be nuanced and clever.  Rachel Taylor is hit and miss for me, just by luck of the draw I’ve seen her in a few things in the last couple of months and she’s grown on me, she’s good here cause she has a role that’s more than meats the eye, I spoil anything but it’s not the standard girlfriend role.

What I didn’t like: This was one of those movies where I really liked it for about half to ¾ of it and I felt it ran out of steam, hate to use the cliche but it didn’t stick the landing for me.  The film is not even 90 minutes but it felt a tad long for the story they told, the ending was disappointing, it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t as clever as the rest of the movie.  I felt they made a mistake by giving up and solving some of the mystery too soon it did make some of the latter stuff repetitive.  I thought the bad guys were not that interesting, and once the story starts to repeat itself they become less and less of a threat.

Final Thoughts: This was a nice surprise, I wasn’t excepting a lot and it was a decent little Sci-Fi thriller, it kept my attention and they was some very good bits to the story and the gimmick, I’ll give them full credit by not just trying to get by with the time loop gimmick they tried to make it different.

Rating: 6/10

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