Renton (played by Robbie Amell) and Hannah (Rachael Taylor) are a couple sleeping in bed one morning, who find out they are stuck in a time loop. A group of three strangers attack them and the ARQ , which stands for Automatic Repeat reQuest (ARQ), also known as Automatic Repeat Query), which acts as an energy turbine.
The setting of this film is in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world where there are energy wars going on. A technology corporation named Torus and a freedom fighting group called Block Leaders are major influences in their own respect. It’s up to Ren and Hannah to make decisions that will alter humanity and the course it takes progressing forward.
In the beginning, there’s a holographically projected clock next to Renton’s bed, and a bodily techno circle in Hannah’s shoulder. This sense of future has you hooked with the addition of futuristic modified gas masks, along with the anonymity of their characters is enthralling. The story loses its flare, it feels, with each time loop this couple went into, but it kept me interested with each turn the story took.
Writer and director Tony Elliot takes a new angle on the cliché, typical saving humanity plotline, and tweaks it a little bit to satisfy our originality-seeking appetites as viewers. The different concepts he explores throughout this film are mind numbing with how much detail are within them.
Elliot’s style comes across really in your face. He wastes no time throwing an action scene right into the start of the film, with the main character being dragged out of the room. The action is fluid and there’s attention to sensory detail with music and sound effects. The effect this film can have on its viewer is to make them feel pressured, and rushed to make a decision, much like the characters do.
There are a lot of themes going on which focus around repetition of behavior, time cycling over and over again, especially our same mistakes. To draw on the idea of repeating itself, the world of humans and their history can be examined through this lens.
Humans repeat their mistakes, it’s in our nature. We’ve been a species for a long time, yet we still find ourselves not learning, and doing the wrong thing time and time again. We don’t always get do-overs right away, but often times another opportunity presents itself at a later time in the future.
Another few themes ARQ draws are power, manipulation and perspective. All these come into effect between characters, and the result is what makes this film intriguing.
The dialogue between characters is very dense in the beginning, and by that I mean there’s a lot packed in into the film to start off. The fast moving dialogue gives the viewer a chance to observe characters, and see what their motives are as the story unfolds.
We also get this insight into what people are like when they are vulnerable, or maybe even more so when those big moments in life happen. ARQ brings to light the rarity of life, and how everything it has to offer is usually taken for granted.