Directed by | Tony Elliott
Produced by | Jon Finemore, Kyle Franke, Mason Novick, Nick Spicer
Written by | Tony Elliott
Starring | Robbie Amell, Rachael Taylor, Shaun Benson, Gray Powell, Jacob Neayem, Adam Butcher
Run Time | 88 minutes
Certificate | 15
Plot | Renton (Amell) is an engineer that has designed a perpetual motion machine, capable of unlimited energy. When he and his ex-girlfriend Hannah (Taylor) are the victims of a home invasion, it quickly becomes apparent that this machine, the ARQ, is causing time to loop back on itself. With each loop, Renton relives the invasion, attempting to work out how to defeat his attackers.
Review | What do you get if you splice a home invasion movie with the time looping insanity of Edge of Tomorrow or Groundhog Day? Tony Elliott (one of main series writers behind Orphan Black) shows us in this Netflix Original sci-fi.
Time manipulation is currently the in-thing in science fiction these days. The excellent Edge of Tomorrow is the yardstick by which upcoming tv shows such as ABC’s Time After Time, The CW’s Frequency, and NBC’s Timeless will be measured against. While probably not quite reaching the heady heights of Doug Liman’s epic, this modestly budgeted, self-contained thriller is very good in its own right and most certainly worth your time.
One concern that arises with these kind of films is that poor execution can lead to boredom (see Vantage Point). Thankfully, ARQ is both swiftly paced and tightly edited. It’s also complemented by a liberal sprinkling of plot twists (though, thankfully, not to the point of saturation).
While the plot itself, and the backdrop to which it is set, is relatively simple, this is certainly not something to knock. The audience simply needs (and receives) enough of a framework of the story for them to enjoy the time travel shenanigans, and the enjoyable (if predictable) plot twists.
On the whole, the cast is fine, with Taylor probably the marginal standout. The buffed up Amell looks a smidge out of place cast as an engineer-turned-inventor, but is believable enough.
The only real criticism that may be drawn from this is just how super serious the whole thing is. Whereas predecessors such as Edge of Tomorrow injected some brilliantly bleak humour, ARQ plays every near dead straight. This is more a niggle than a blot on the record though.
The Verdict | While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, fans of Edge of Tomorrow will definitely get a kick out of ARQ. An entertaining thriller, worthy of any sci-fi fan’s collection.