I have very fond memories of the classic movie Groundhog Day. In that film, Bill Murray keeps reliving the same day, over and over again. It was a fantastic concept which also resulted in a very wonderful movie. Ever since Groundhog Day, timeloops have appeared in numerous movies and tv series. If done well, it can make for a great watch, for instance the recent animeseries Erased. Netflix has released a lot of great movies and shows this year, and they really seem to be on a roll. The sci-fi movie ARQ is Netflix’s attempt to create a new spin on the timeloop story.
ARQ takes place in a post apocalyptic Earth where something has gone drastically wrong with the world. The human race is the only species left, electricity is scarce, and the very air is hard to breath. Every day seems to be a struggle. One day the young man Renton wakes up in his house next to the girl he loves Hannah. Only seconds later a group of masked thugs break down the door to their appartment, and drag the bewildered couple straight down to the basement of the house. Renton has been working on a mysterious device called ARQ that is situated in the very same basement. He assumes this is what the masked men are after, and he desperately tries to find a way to escape. However, something goes horribly wrong and he gets shot while attempting to flee. But then something weird happens. Renton wakes up seconds later, right next to gis girlfriend. Caught in a timeloop from which there seems to be no escape, Renton and Hannah desperately try to find a way out. However time itself will be their greatest foe…
This is one of those movies that just doesn’t do anything wrong, but also feels like you have seen this all before. Which is pretty funny, considering this is a movie about a timeloop. One of the things this movie does very well, is create a dark and tense atmosphere. The calamity that seems to have befallen Earth, never quite gets explained, and that somehow works for this film. It only adds to the sense of mystery that surrounds this movie. Robby Amell who plays Renton, and Rachael Taylor playing Hannah both do a pretty good job in their respective roles. The story of ARQ is one of the weaker points of the film. There are a lot of questions in the movie, that in the end will unfortunately not all be answered. Sometimes that works, as in the aforementioned disaster that devastated the Earth. But too many things are left wide open, and will leave you with a bit of a hangover at the end of the film.
That said, this is not a bad film. If you like scifi thrillers with a bit of a darker edge, there is enough to enjoy in this movie. Unfortunately though, as too many things are left unresolved, it will leave you wondering why you have invested all your precious time in it. And not even a timeloop can change that fact….
I give ARQ a 6 out of 10 score.