- 1 hr 28 min
In the movie ARQ, Robbie Amell stars as Renton, a brilliant physicist who has designed a machine that generates unlimited energy. However, the corporation that he was previously employed with has teamed up with the military to bring him back and continue his work. Renton has been on the run ever since and is now holed up in an abandoned warehouse with his girlfriend, Hannah (Rachael Taylor).
As the movie begins, we see Renton wake up in bed to find Hannah is gone, and he's under attack by armed thugs. In a panic, he activates a device called the "ARQ," which is essentially a time loop. Renton and Hannah are trapped in the loop, and every time they die, the loop resets. Over the course of the movie, they must figure out how to break free from the cycle.
Renton and Hannah also encounter a group of intruders who have their own reasons to break into the warehouse. Among the intruders is a familiar face, Rentonâs former friend and colleague, Sonny (Shaun Benson). Sonny and his team burst into the warehouse, hoping to steal Rentonâs invention. They didn't expect to find Renton and Hannah trapped in a time loop.
The movie takes its time to introduce its main characters and sets the stage for the larger conflict that is to come. As Renton and Hannah attempt to come up with a plan to escape their time loop, they're frequently derailed by the intruders, who are hot on their heels. We quickly realize that everyone is guarding a secret or an agenda that will considerably complicate matters further.
ARQ doesn't waste much time before the audience is injected into its fast-paced story that doesn't let up throughout the 90-minute runtime. The film's initial mystery, who these people are, why they're fighting and who or what the ARQ is, keeps you hooked in right from the start.
The real strength of this film is its script. Director Tony Elliot has crafted a meticulously detailed script that slowly makes the story more profound and more infuriating. Each cycle of the time loop peels back a new layer to reveal more information about whatâs going on. Even when the viewer thinks they've got it all figured out, a new twist is thrown in to keep things interesting.
The movie's production design stands out, not surprisingly as ARQ was produced by Netflix. The sets, costumes, and props all contribute to the film's overall aesthetic, which is a mix of retro-futuristic and dystopian tones. The grime and the dirt help create a dystopian world where survival is the main objective, and the future is quite bleak. The sets, as well as the camera work and lighting, do well to enhance the tension of the story.
ARQ stirs up several themes throughout its runtime. The movie dives into the concept of time and loops, asking a fundamental question of whether this is just how things happen, or if there's a reason behind the repetition. But thatâs not all; the screenplay also explores themes of loyalty and betrayal, as well as the ethics of scientific progress.
The cast of ARQ, which is relatively small, is led by Robbie Amell, who delivers a strong performance. He portrays Renton as a conflicted man who can't escape his demons. Renton is brilliant, but he's also plagued by guilt over his work, which has fueled the conflict he's currently embroiled in. Rachael Taylor is equally good in her role as Hannah, who quickly becomes Renton's partner in crime. Her portrayal of Hannah brings a refreshing level of nuance to the often-clichÃ©d 'female sidekick' role.
Shaun Benson as Sonny is good, but his character doesn't quite get the opportunity to shine compared to the other leads. The supporting cast also does well, with the villains of the story being particularly menacing.
Overall, ARQ is a solid sci-fi thriller with standout performances and an engaging script. It has a unique take on the time-loop sub-genre and delivers an intelligent story. The movie doesn't rely on grand VFX, but rather on the tight confines of its setting and the tension built up by its time loop. The film treats the concept of time loops seriously, and it presents an intelligent take on the idea. ARQ is a movie that deserves to be on any sci-fi fan's radar.
ARQ is a 2016 science fiction movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 28 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3.