ARQ (2016): Spin, Rinse, Repeat (Review)

Racheal Taylor, Robbie Amell

Written and directed by Tony Elliot (his first feature length film at the helm) ARQ stars Robbie Amell and Rachel Taylor as a couple caught in time.  The film takes place in a dystopian post apocalyptic world and provides a different take on “time travel.” The two people are caught in a repeating cycle, so it is spin, rinse, repeat, over and over and over…

At the start of the film, Renton (Amell) and Hannah (Taylor) are sleeping. He wakes up to see it is 06:16 in the morning and a trio of men break into the bedroom. Renton jerks awake. But this is not a dream, it is an event that has already happened.

The film starts out, rather disappointingly, like an Edge of Tomorrow clone but it soon becomes apparent that ARQ has taken a different path.   Rather than a resetting of time based upon a death, the entire thing is a loop.

Tony Elliot has made a film that shows each event differently adding details to every reboot. It is clever and fascinating and very entertaining for a low-budget science fiction thriller.

Amell, first cousin to Arrow star Stephen, has the same rugged good looks that obviously run in that family’s gene pool. He also does a good job bringing his character to life.

There is a slow development with Renton, the man who took his invention, the ARQ, home with him.  As the film progresses so does Amell’s character’s arc.

Aussie actress Rachel Taylor takes Hannah through the most satisfying arc as her character has more in the way of painful backstory.  The two actors, Robbie and Rachel have an excellent chemistry together and it helps the story.

ARQ has an interesting twist or two in the storyline and the film does not go overboard on the FX. There is at least one decent stunt and a bit of CG at the end that looks pretty impressive.

The film is a “Netflix Original” and also stars Shaun BensonGray PowellJacob Neayem, and Adam Butcher as Sonny, Father, Brother and Cuz respectively.  

What starts out as a sort of home invasion film turns into something else and at 98 minutes the movie is not overly long. The pacing of the film moves at a good clip but never seems frantic.

Elliot manages to show things from a different angle with each loop and it adds to the suspense of the story.  There are also elements added which were not on offer the first few times around. This adds a depth to the proceedings.

ARQ provides an interesting take on energy issues, man’s propensity for misbehaving and relationships.  There is also a pretty good message in the film about loyalty.

Overall, this movie hums along and never disappoints. As the film plays out it evolves and adapts to keep the viewer surprised and involved with the events on screen.

It is an intimate film. nearly claustrophobic in nature, that does not need to exaggerate the action or the storyline.

This is a 4.5 star film. It delivers a  storyline that keeps the viewer’s interest right up until the last frame.  ARQ is streaming on Netflix right now. Check it out.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

One thought on “ARQ (2016): Spin, Rinse, Repeat (Review)”

  1. Someone made this film for about $5000.00. The film uses an abandoned warehouse. Uses the same darkly lit interiors and/or looping scene repetition with slight variation. Only reveals selected facts that explain things in an agonizingly tediously slow manner. The director keeps the audience guessing and only reveals enough so they don’t dump the movie half way through and find something else to do. Characters are placed in peril over and over but aren’t particularly likable. About half way through when a loop reveals female lead is a plant for the rebels, the engineer character still explains in detail his invention, looping structure .. everything. Hmmm , I wish I had the time back


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