Starring: Robbie Amell, Rachael Taylor, Gray Powell, Shaun Benson, Jacob Neayem
Directed By: Tony Elliott
I think this is one of those films that Netflix picked up but didn’t actually make. It’s like a decent straight-to-video film. I can’t imagine it would have done well in theatres. It’s low budget, takes place in one place, and has no real stars. Yes, I know and appreciate who Robbie Amell and Rachael Taylor are, but I don’t think they anchor theatrical releases.
ARQ is high concept, in that Ren (Amell) keeps reliving the same three hours of his life, where a group of thugs break into his place, tie him and his girlfriend (Taylor) up, and make their demands. Each loop ends with him getting shot, and then the whole cycle restarts. He thinks they’re after his ARQ, which he designed to be a constan source of energy, but it turns out may be a constant source of time.
As he repeats each time, he gets smarter, and adapts to his surroundings. The big game changer is when his girlfriend (Taylor) starts remembering, and they can work together. There are more twists (and honestly, she remembers pretty early in the movie, so its not a spoiler) and I found myself actually wanting more at the end. I could have watched a few more trips, and I wouldn’t have been mad.
I like Robbie Amell, but he’s not as good of an actor as his brother. He holds the film back a bit. He’s OK, but I can’t help but think there was a better actor for this. Rachael Taylor is good though.
If you’re looking for a quick pick on Netflix, this is a decent choice. It certainly gets points for originality in concept alone.
FINAL GRADE: B