ARQ Movie Review
ARQ Movie Review Metadata
I thought I would “Netflix and chill” this evening and stumbled upon ARQ, a dystopian thriller exclusive to Netflix and the feature debut from Orphan Black screenwriter Tony Elliot. It is available to stream today.
ARQ opens to Renton (Robbie Amell) and Hannah (Rachael Taylor) amidst a home invasion from scavenging raiders. The couple – living in a dystopian future where an energy crisis and war between an evil conglomerate called the Torus and a rebellious group known as the Bloc has ravaged Earth to the point of near-extinction – are trapped in an accidental time-loop of Renton’s creation. Renton’s invention – the A.R.Q. or Arcing Recursive Quine – was built to provide infinite self-perpetuating free energy for the World but is somehow looping time back on itself as a side effect. Renton and Hannah find themselves in a race against time to protect the ARQ from Torus mercenaries and save humanity from extinction.
ARQ regrettably lacks the elements (and budget) that made the similar Edge of Tomorrow movie starring Tom Cruise so memorable. Elliot attempts to distinguish his film by shedding repetitive events from previous time loops for emphasis on character and storytelling, but in doing so he subtracts the fun of the genre. What’s left is a well-written albeit unmemorable film with an irritating cliffhanger conclusion. ARQ is vastly superior to anything the streaming giant is producing with Adam Sandler, but this genre film doesn’t equal the quality or engagement of Netflix’s original series slate.