Synchronic (2019) Movie Ending, Explained: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead’s 2019 directorial effort – ‘Synchronic’ is a mind-bending science-fiction tale. Written by Benson and shot by Moorhead, the film deals with the aspects of time travel through its central characters of two co-working buddies.

Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan lead this riveting drama about a pair of paramedics who investigate a series of inexplicable deaths and their connection two a new designer drug named Synchronic. The film premiered at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival and later started streaming on Netflix.

*Spoilers Ahead*

Synchronic (2019) Movie Summary & Plot Synopsis:

What is Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s ‘Synchronic’ about?

Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) are two close friends who work together as paramedics in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dennis got married at a young age and has two children apart by 18 years. Dennis is a bachelor by choice because of his issues with relationships.

The story follows the duo responding to a series of calls related to cases with strange circumstances. The victims had either died or communicated things that made very little sense. All these events involve a new designer drug called ‘Synchronic.’

While attending to a domestic abuse call, the duo finds a victim with a chest wound and an old sword stuck in the wall. Steve sees ‘Time is a lie’ written on another wall while helping a teenager and accidentally pierces an infected needle into his body.

The later testing for his infection leads him to the discovery of a diagnosis of a brain tumor in his pineal gland. The doctor says that his gland is more like a teenager’s than an adult’s. He jokes about how it can be Steve’s third eye. Considering his additional intake of medication, Dennis worries his friend should not become a junkie paramedic cliché.

The mates respond to another call to help out a burn victim and find a connection to Synchronic. The next call is about a snake bite of a venomous snake – the Eastern Diamondback Rattler, that is impossible to be found nearby. Once again, there is a Synchronic connection to this woman. Soon afterward, they make a drug bust and find a teenager under the influence. While speaking with one of them, Steve learns that Brianna (Dennis’ teenage daughter, played by Ally Loannides) was with them at the time. He notices a synchronic packet right next to her chair.

Because of increasing cases of sudden deaths or strange circumstances, Steve goes to a local Smoke Shop and decides to buy all the supplies of Synchronic. The manager gives what she has at the front counter but says there won’t be more since the drug has been discontinued. Steve gets angered since he wanted to end the supply to save innocent people. A man follows Steve outside to his car and offers to buy all the drugs. He offers to pay triple what Steve paid and more. But Steve denies it since he does not want the man to inject that harmful drug.

What does Synchronic drug do?

Back at his home, Steve finds out that the man from before has broken into his house. His name is Dr. Kermani (Ramiz Monsef), the chemist who created Synchronic. He mentions he created it with the help of a red flower that grows only in an isolated region in the desert of California. Due to a struggle to get it approved, he wanted the last stock from Steve. Steve shares that he has cancer in his pineal gland.

What does Dr. Kermani say about Synchronic drugs?

Hearing that, Dr. Kermani reveals that this DMT-like drug messes with the pineal gland so that we experience time for what it actually is. He shares a metaphor to illustrate his point about the perception of time. He explains how we consider time normally moving in a linear fashion. Only with Synchronic one experiences it like a record – all the events are always there, and you drop the needle to go to a particular time period. He calls Synchronic the needle in this theory.

Why can adults return back to the present but not children?

Since the pineal gland of children is non-calcified, they physically go to another time entirely and sometimes do not return. Adults have different effects and can move back and forth through different times, like ghosts. Dr. Kermani was trying to get rid of the existing drugs and discovered that Steve had the last supply.

Steve lies that he has flushed all the drugs down the drain to make the chemist leave home. Later, he attends a call with Dennis where a victim dies because of a sword fight. After being confronted with a friend’s death, he laments about how he has ended up becoming an armchair physicist despite his deep interest in the history of science. He quotes Einstein to illustrate the meaninglessness of time, where the distinction between timelines is nothing but a persistent illusion.

Brianna’s disappearance takes a toll on Dennis and Tara’s (Katie Aselton) marriage. He soon learns that Morphine is getting stolen. He reaches the conclusion that Steve became addicted to it because of his worsening health condition.

Synchronic (2019): Movie Ending, Explained
Anthony Mackie in Synchronic (2019)

The duo soon reaches a location to find a hysterically shouting patient. While Steve tries to treat the man, Dennis keeps interrupting and micro-managing Steve’s work. He later accuses Steve of addiction which turns into a full-blown fight between them.

Back at home, Steve decides to inject Synchronic. He realizes his present reality slowly deteriorating. He travels back in time and finds himself in a swampland. While walking around trying to find clues, he gets approached by an alligator and then attacked by an armed man. The very next moment, he returns back to reality. It happens within a matter of 7 minutes.

What observations does Steve make related to Synchronic?

Steve starts recording his observations in videos. He shares how Synchronic allows one to travel back in time for seven minutes in the same geographical location. Steve also shares another observation: things that touch you while on the drug seem a little distorted. He hopes to bring back Brianna, who consumed the drug and disappeared henceforth.

Steve again travels back in time – now to the Ice Age. Upon his return, he realizes another aspect –  the exact location when he takes the pill determines the time period of his destination. He marks those different areas inside his room to differentiate between them. He revisits in his mind all the signs he found next to the victims. Moreover, he decides to experiment with his dog -Hawking, to see if he returns or not.

Why can’t Steve bring Hawking back?

Steve goes back to the 1920s with his dog and gets chased by a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He soon reaches another place surrounded by white folks and waits for the time to reach seven minutes. Unfortunately, since he moves away from his original location and wasn’t touching the dog at the time, he cannot bring it back. He only sees Hawking slowly fade away in front of his eyes in the present.

Dennis tells Tara a story related to Dennis. During the Katrina clean-up, a few coffins were ripped out of Lafayette cemetery. The serial numbers were traced back to Dennis, i.e., the bodies were of Steve’s family members. All of it happened on Steve’s 30th birthday.

Steve takes another Synchronic pill from the chair where Brianna suddenly disappeared (at the time of the drug bust of the teenagers). He notices tribal men around a bonfire and asks if they have seen Brianna. They communicate in their language and find Steve’s intrusion bizarre. Steve runs for his life while the men chase him up to a tree. He climbs up the branches and saves himself right in time.

When Steve returns to the present, Brianna’s friend says that Brianna wandered off before she took Synchronic. Steve realizes that touching any object can land someone in that particular object’s time period. Now, he has only two pills left.

Steve meets Dennis at a bar, who opens up about his probable divorce. Seeing his friend get vulnerable, Steve shares his cancer diagnosis. While Dennis initially gets angry for keeping it a secret, he eventually lets go of his resentment. He also shares that their driver was stealing Morphine, not Steve, as he suspected. It gives them a chance to restore their strong bond.

Synchronic (2019) Movie Ending, Explained:

Does Steve manage to bring Brianna back to the present?

Steve brings Dennis to his family in the graveyard. He also shows the video footage of his travels back to the past. Dennis offers to take the bet, but Steve says he has a better chance of bringing her back. While discussing her disappearance, they figure she left a permanent message for them in the park. It reads – ‘Allways.’ This is the same rock she was sitting on before.

Dennis remembers a book Brianna had – Facing Death with a Smile. They reach an understanding of how life poses infinite possibilities, whereas you can rarely get lucky with how you die. ‘Always’ was part of what Dennis said before Brianna disappeared. Mid-conversation, Steve travels back in time and finds himself in the middle of a battlefield. He crawls around through a pile of dead bodies to find Briana and ends up getting shot in his leg.

Eventually, Steve finds Brianna gasping for life. She wonders how he found her. He talks about the message on the boulder, but she says she did not leave any such thing. Anyhow, he offers her the last pill so that he can return. He asks her to run as fast as they can to reach the boulder, i.e., the place he traveled to in the past from. Unfortunately, a looting man notices Steve and considers him a runaway slave.

What happens to Steve in the end?

Since the man threatens their lives, Steve decides to distract him so that Brianna can return safely to the present. The white man steps past a landmine and fails Steve’s plan. However, the very next moment, he gets stunned by a nearby explosion. He moves back, steps on the landmine, and gets destroyed to bits. Right after, Steve returns to the boulder but realizes it’s too late.

While he sits there, Brianna returns to the present and hugs Dennis. Dennis notices a flickering image of Steve and offers to shake his hand. While they hold hands, Steve remains stuck in the past for the time being. Steve possibly wrote the message on the boulder. It’s not clear whether he will return to the present. But considering the firm handshake in his otherwise ghost-like presence, it seems like he will.

Related to Synchronic (2019) Movie Ending, Explained: Synchronic [2019]: ‘TIFF’ Review – Ambitious and Effective

Synchronic (2019) Movie Trailer:

Synchronic (2019) Movie Links: IMDb, Wikipedia, Rotten Tomatoes
Synchronic (2019) Movie Cast: Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Katie Aselton
Where to watch Synchronic

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