Synchronic may have had a rocky debut initially, but has since made huge waves on Netflix.
The movie originally premiered in the 2019 film festival circuits before having a limited theatrical release by Well Go USA in 2020.
Since then, it has been released digitally and on-demand, and most recently on Netflix.
All weekend, Synchronic has dominated the Netflix charts — occupying the number one slot, just 48 hours after it was made available for streaming.
While fans have found the science-fiction plot to be incredibly moving and engaging, many were deeply disturbed by its ending.
Be cautious before continuing to read. There are spoilers for Synchronic below.
What happened at the end of Synchronic?
The movie follows Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan), two paramedics who are called to assist in a series of suspicious cases linked to a synthetic drug called Synchronic.
This mystery becomes ingrained with the paramedics’ personal lives as Steve finds out that he has an inoperable brain tumor leaving him susceptible to the drug’s effects. Dennis’s daughter, Brianna (Alexia Ioannides), goes missing after experimenting with it.
Taking matters into his own hands, Steve buys out the last supplier of the drug and begins to take it, recording his experiences and jotting down notes on how it works.
It is a time travel drug.
Through trial and error, he discovers that where one travels to is based on where they are standing. They are brought back to the present after seven minutes if they make it back to their arrival spot.
It is risky to take other living things into the new time — he learns this by experimenting with his dog Hawkins, who he tearfully loses when traveling back to present times.
Steve puts himself in horrible situations throughout the movie, coming face to face with Southern racists and ice age neanderthals.
It pays off when he exposes his dubious actions to Dennis, and they team up to discover where Brianna must’ve been located when she took the drug, meaning it is possible to recover her from the past.
What went wrong in the Synchronic ending?
Eventually, Steve locates Brianna in a Confederate war zone and gives her the last pill to travel back in time. This is done under the impression he has enough time to get back to where he was upon his arrival and travel back with her.
They climb over dead bodies and lift themselves out of a pit, running to the huge rock that signified both of their arrival spots. While they make it there in time, over thirty seconds remain until the drug wears off.
During this time, the two are harassed by a gun-toting slave owner, demanding Steve is returned back to his care, mistaking him for a slave.
Steve instigates the racist, stepping away from the rock but pausing mid-way, drawing the other man closer.
Spotting a grenade, Steve’s thought process is that the slave owner will step on the grenade, causing it to detonate, and he’ll be free to run back to rock.
However, things don’t go that simple, and while the slave owner eventually denotes the grenade, too much time has passed, and Steve is permanently stuck in the past.
The Synchronic audience responds
This ending was incredibly jarring to Synchronic viewers, many of whom stated that the ending made them sick to their stomach. One viewer wrote, “Y’all left this Black man to be a slave in the Battle of 1812.”
In this post, the viewer screenshots their one-star review of the movie, along with the commentary listed above. They added, “We don’t know if the brain tumor or slavery took him, but good for him, he saved the white girl.”
Another viewer shared an image of LaKeith Stanfield’s character Andre in Get Out with the caption, “Just finished watching #Synchronic on #Netflix and I just, they had me right until the end. I can’t. I’m just so angry with this ending.”
However, one fan of the movie took a different approach to the ending.
They tweeted, “Relieved that a sci-fi movie like Synchronic would approach time travel with a BIPOC lens. I’ve also had to endure way too many “theme nights” hosted by white folks at work & back in uni with no consideration for what would actually happen to me in the 20s, 40s, 60s.”
While Synchronic viewers may be mixed on the movie’s ending, solid points have been made from both sides.
Although one thing rings true, the movie was enjoyable enough to watch until the ending and threw the unexpected at its audience; there is just the sticky matter of what is and isn’t superfluous Black trauma.
Synchronic is currently streaming on Netflix.
Even a movie in today’s world can’t end without someone crying racism. I thought the movie was bad in my eyes it was just a movie. Will people ever be able to take their racism looking glasses off and enjoy anything again?