Last night, I sat down and turned on Netflix to find ARQ staring at me and, after reading the blurb, thought “Why not?”. The blurb read:
“Earth’s future depends on a new technology, but the path to survival has a twist. Time’s not up — just in pieces.”
So I thought with that description, the ‘spaceman’ on the cover and a name like ARQ that this might be a sci-fi tale of humans travelling to another planet in some kind of ‘Ark’ spaceship to restart humanity in pastures new. But no…
At least it was intriguing enough to keep me watching to find out more. Maybe if they’d mentioned Groundhog Day or Source Code I would have had a better idea of the premise of the movie. This makes it somewhat like watching a video game: every time the hero dies, he wakes up back in bed and gets to try again. The blurb on IMDB describes it better:
“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.”
A couple of times I thought I’d found some holes in the plot only to be pleasantly surprised that they were later explained. There are some nice twists and the current world situation is drip fed to the viewer during each new re-run of the day rather than having a long exposition at the start. Unfortunately I did find one obvious flaw, the clocks go faster to show time is speeding up, but in reality so everything else would be moving faster too and so would not be noticeable.
Most of the film takes place in the hero’s house, so if you’re looking for intricately modelled futuristic scenery, try elsewhere. The hero, played by Robbie Amell (who I last saw in The Tomorrow People reboot), does have a cool electro-glove that he uses to punch and electrocute his assailants. And then there’s the ARQ itself, a spinning metal cylinder, which works better than it sounds!
I found the end a little disappointing, but really enjoyed the rest of the movie and can’t help feeling that it would be even better as a video game.