ARQ (2016) Movie Review


“ARQ,” released in 2016, is a science fiction thriller that explores the concept of a time loop, a familiar trope for the genre, but with its unique twists and turns. Directed and written by Tony Elliott, the film stars Robbie Amell as Renton, an engineer who finds himself reliving the same day repeatedly. The stakes are high as he must protect a revolutionary technology that could end the world’s energy crisis.

The narrative unfolds in a near-future dystopia where the depletion of oil has led to global conflict. Renton, along with his companion Hannah (played by Rachael Taylor), is trapped in a house under siege by masked intruders. The tension is palpable as the duo navigates the complexities of their situation, all while grappling with the implications of the time loop caused by the ARQ, the device at the heart of the story.

The film’s execution of the time loop concept is commendable. Each cycle adds layers to the characters’ development and peels back the mysteries surrounding the ARQ. Amell and Taylor deliver solid performances, capturing the emotional and psychological toll of their predicament. The supporting cast, though limited in screen time, contributes to the claustrophobic atmosphere and the sense of urgency that drives the plot.

Cinematographically, “ARQ” is sleek and gritty, aligning well with its thematic content. The production design is minimalistic, which works to the film’s advantage, keeping the focus on the characters and their interactions. The time loop, often a challenging narrative device to maintain without falling into repetition, is handled with enough variation to keep the audience engaged.

Critics have had mixed reactions to “ARQ.” Some have praised its compact storytelling and the punch it delivers within its modest runtime. Others have noted its similarities to other works in the genre, like “Edge of Tomorrow” and “Primer,” and have critiqued it for not fully fleshing out its potential. Despite this, the film has found an audience appreciative of its approach to sci-fi and time travel.

For those interested in delving into the looping world of “ARQ,” the film is available for streaming on Netflix.

In the Nutshell

“ARQ” is a film that offers a thought-provoking exploration of time, memory, and survival. It may not redefine the genre, but it certainly holds its own as a piece of science fiction that is both entertaining and engaging. For fans of the genre looking for a film that combines action, science fiction, and a mind-bending narrative, “ARQ” is a title worth watching. Whether it will stand the test of time within the sci-fi canon remains to be seen, but its ambition and execution make it a noteworthy entry. I give 4 out of 5 stars.

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Genre: Sci-fi Thriller

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