The history of cinema is littered with child stars who struggled to adjust to the adult acting world. Hollywood seems to have addressed this by casting older actors as younger teenagers. It has worked remarkably well for many stars of YA adaptations, with Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson becoming household names. Dylan O’Brien got his big break in the Maze Runner trilogy and is now beginning to make his own way with impressive performances in Love and Monsters and now Flashback.
Fredrick Fitzell (O’Brien) seems to have reached the next phase in his life having just started a new lucrative corporate job and settling down with his long-term partner (Hannah Gross). At the same time, his ailing mother (Liisa Repo-Martell) no longer recognises him. With his future seemingly mapped out, a chance encounter suddenly throws everything up in the air. Fred becomes obsessed with finding a mysterious girl (Maika Monroe) and fragmented memories of taking an experimental drug.
Flashback is an ambitious psychological thriller which mixes elements of science fiction and horror into a dramatic narrative. At its heart is a grounding performance from O’Brien who provides the anchor whilst events spiral out of control around him. Christopher MacBride’s second feature probably tries to do a little too much and the time-hopping narrative can be difficult to follow at times, but Flashback is a fascinating memory mystery.
Flashback is released on digital platforms on 4 June.