Netflix Sci-Fi Time Loop Thriller Overlooked For Years Shatters All Expectations

By TeeJay Small | Published

Time loop movies are all the rage, with incredible high-concept ideas taking the premise plotted out by 1993’s Groundhog Day and expanding upon it in a new and creative fashion. One such film is 2016’s ARQ, a film that takes the time loop concept and pairs it with action thriller set-pieces.

ARQ‘s a wild ride from start to finish. Though the film failed to make a massive splash when it was first released on Netflix nearly a decade ago, it stands as an excellent outing, shocking many fans who find their way to the film today.

ARQ Saved By Netflix

ARQ is written and directed by Orphan Black writer Tony Elliott. The idea for the film dates all the way back to 2008 when a Canadian film studio approached Elliott to option the script. The project fell into nearly a decade of development hell afterward.

Luckily, Netflix eventually bought the rights to produce and distribute the project in 2016 for a total budget of less than $2 million, resulting in the streamer being the exclusive home for the film worldwide.

The Cast

ARQ stars Rachael Taylor, Shaun Benson, Gray Powell, Jacob Neayem, and Adam Butcher, with Stephen Amell‘s brother, Robbie Amell, in the leading role. The film received a world premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, where audiences were wowed by the high-concept application of a time loop film with so many moving parts.

Reliving A Violent Kidnapping

ARQ‘s plot centers on a couple named Renton and Hannah, who wake up one morning as three violent men break into their bedroom. Despite their attempts to fight back and escape, the situation restarts each time they achieve any level of success. After the armed men successfully capture the couple and tie them to chairs, the leader, known only as ‘Father,’ explains that they are part of a rebel group called the Bloc.

Father commands Renton to give him money allegedly stolen from the massive Torus Corporation, where Renton is employed. Once the Bloc men are distracted, Renton cuts himself and Hannah loose and explains that he built and stole a perpetual motion machine, which he calls the ARQ, while working for the company.

What Sets ARQ Apart From Other Time Loop Movies

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Unlike other time loop films, ARQ contains multiple time loops within other time loops, creating a veritable Fibonacci sequence of infinite loops that would drive the average person to madness. The film’s writing is spectacular, revealing intense sci-fi concepts, which explains why it may have been so difficult to make the film in the first place. Regardless, the film has finally found its home, even if it failed to leave a massive mark on the cinema landscape upon its release.

Decide For Yourself

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ARQ is now available to view on Netflix. Just be sure to catch the sci-fi thriller on a day when you’re not experiencing any deja vu.