Everyone loves getting tied up in a mind-bending thriller from time to time, Memento being one that springs to mind immediately. If done well, they can be compelling viewing that asks the audience more questions than giving them answers. Christopher MacBride's Flashback certainly fits into that category, well made and offering its audience a chance to think for themselves without having it all fed to them through copious amounts of exposition.

After a chance encounter with a man forgotten from his youth, Fred (Dylan O'Brien) literally and metaphorically journeys into his past. He slowly begins to unravel a long hidden mystery about a missing girl, a drug called Mercury, and a terrifying creature that has now followed him into adulthood.
Flashback is all about the journey you are taken on with Fred through his life both as he knows it and memories he has forgotten about a past he might want to stay that way. It's a trippy journey that Christopher MacBride does a good job in writing a coherent narrative for, flitting between timelines to unlock truths in Fred's life that make the film such a worthwhile one to follow.

There's a distinct visual style to Flashback achieved through Brendan Steacy's cinematography, darkness utilised to great effect in emphasising the blindspots in Fred's memory being opened up regarding events of his past. If you're going to make a film that the audience really have to focus on to keep up with proceedings, you better make it look as visually appealing as possible.
Leading the film, Dylan O'Brien possesses that screen presence you don't see in everyone, a rare star quality that enables him to make even the lowest quality of film watchable. Flashback isn't that film but he makes you truly care about Fred's journey with a strong performance full of confusion and a scared nature, ensuring the audience feel empathy towards him. The supporting cast is full of upcoming talent that ensure Flashback maintains a decent level of quality throughout.

Flashback may find itself being too much of a mind-bending mystery for general audiences however, if you let yourself get taken in by the mystery, you'll find a film well worth settling down for a trippy experience.

Verdict: ½

Vertigo Releasing presents Flashback on digital platforms 4 June 2021


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