Every so often you come across a movie that makes you question what it was you just watched. It twists your mind into a pretzel and when it’s done you have to think about what it all means. In some cases you need to watch it a second and a third time to truly grasp the intricacies to the storyline. Flashback is a such a movie, and really the first and most prominent thought that crosses your mind when it’s over is trippy.
Fred’s (Teen Wolf‘s Dylan O’Brien) mother is dying. She has a few days to live, and it drives Fred into a nostalgic depression that brings back thoughts of his last year of high-school. The main focus of his thought is Cindy (Honey Boy‘s Maika Monroe), a friend who suddenly disappeared before finals. Fred believes he knows what happened to her. But the problem is he did a lot of a drug called Merc during that time. This has fogged his memory. The drugs also have another side effect however. They cause horrific flashbacks that may or may not physically take Fred back in time to relive what he forgot. These flashbacks cause problems for his current life as well, and if he doesn’t find a way to control them he may find himself trapped in the past with no future to return to.
Flashback tries to say a lot by jumping you back and forth through the character’s timeline. While it’s an interesting way of telling the story, it also makes things a little confusing. To make matters worse, Fred isn’t a very compelling character. He finds his current life boring and sad, including his job and his wife, which just makes him boring. The shortcomings of the character isn’t Dylan O’Brien’s fault however, who makes the most of the limited script.
O’Brien is the reason you want to follow the story to the end to find out what happens next. Writer / director Christopher MacBride’s main issue seems to be that he wants to tell you something. But he doesn’t come out and say what it is. He shows you a lot of information and leaves it up to you to come to a conclusion. While this may work for some films, in Flashback‘s case you feel like it’s jerking you around instead of leading you somewhere.
There is an audience that will enjoy Flashback, and get whatever meaning out of it they are looking for. It’s not a bad movie, it just needs a little more direction then it gives.