Netflix is reputed about their original tv series, majority of which have been highly acclaimed and have won several awards and accolades. The recent being “Stranger things” , which had taken the popular culture by a storm. But aside from TV shows Netflix has tried their hands on some original movies as well. ‘ARQ’ is one of them. Netflix original movie ARQ is a 2016 science fiction film directed by Tony Elliott. The film was released on Netflix worldwide on September 16, 2016. Robbie Amell plays an engineer whose invention causes time to loop during a home invasion. He attempts to save his former lover, played by Rachael Taylor, while learning who has targeted him and why.
ARQ is a sci-fi thriller, set in a dystopian world in near future. In this world, much of things are under control of two organizations, a rebel group known as Bloc and the rival organization known as Torus corporation. Torus is a much larger and powerful group compared to Bloc. The movie opens with Renton waking up beside his former lover Hannah. He is infiltrated and broken into his room by a couple of men and taken hostage. Renton breaks his neck while escaping, only to find himself in the same position in bed beside Hannah, the time has looped, he is again broken in by a the same men who take him hostage again. He is tied into chair along with Hannah, and both of them manage to untie themselves once the men leave. Renton comes up with a sort of plan and tries to take down the men but fails and gets killed in the process. He wakes up again in his room, just to be taken hostage again. Apparently the time is repeating itself, but only Renton is aware of it. All this is being caused due to a large device running in the room called ARQ, which was letting the time to loop again and again.
If you liked movies such as Source code and Looper, the premise of ARQ will be very appealing to you. It’s not a new concept, as its quite similar to the movie Groundhog Day, but it quite a fascinating concept. In ARQ a couple of people are stuck in a time loop, its a heated time-frame in which a group of people has to successfully capture and extract scrips from the other, and other group has to avoid and overcome the hostage situation. The first half of the movie is particularly catchy as you try to figure this interesting premise. But as it unfolds and the things get clear in the mid section, the movie gets a tad repetitive with with frustratingly tedious conventions. 95% movie is shot in the same indoor location. There are only two times we visually see the actual distopian world outside the house. But even then, all the back stories and setting unfolds very smoothly as the lead characters talk about themselves and the world. And without much of a visual depiction everything is understood.
Tony Elliott has done a great job with the execution and the pacing. As almost all the movie is shot indoors, there are a lots of close shots and shakey cameras but it doesn’t hinder the experience much. Due to the repetitive nature of the film the loop holes also becomes clear as the movie progresses. And it has a rather anti-climatic ending too, which is a matter of debate weather it suits the context of movie or not. I personally found it apt of the film as the film ends amidst a lot of engaging tensions in a suspenseful note.
ARQ is another great addition to Netflix’s library. The movie introduces a fascinating premise, similar to Groundhog Day and Source code. The first half of the movie is quite engaging but it does get a tad bit repetitive in the mid-section. Loop-holes are also observable but overall it has a cohesive flow with the execution, great cinematography and an ending on a suspenseful note. Which altogether makes up for a great watch.
- Great premise
- Engaging characters
- Strong story development