MOVIE REVIEW: “Coherence” stars Emily Baldoni (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Five Feet Apart), Maury Sterling (Batman: The Killing Joke, Homeland [TV series]), Nicholas Brendan (Buffy the Vampire Slayer [TV series], Psycho Beach Party), Larene Scafaria (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, The Nines), Elizabeth Gracen (Highlander [TV series], Girl Flu.), Hugo Armstrong (Roman J. Israel Esq., Lucky), Alex Manugian (Rango, OK Good), and Lauren Mahr (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Looking for Lions). It is directed by James Ward Byrkit (Rango, Fractalus [Short]), who also wrote it with Alex Manugian.
A dinner party with friends takes a sudden turn when a comet flying by earth causes a power outage. Trying to assess what just happened, the friends soon realize that things are no longer as they seem.
If there’s one film I’ve been badgered about to see, it’s “Coherence.” Why? Because it’s the little, shoestring budget indie film that is actually really good. And when I say “really good,” I mean… it’s surprisingly good.
All handheld, overlapping dialogue, and mind-numbing story developments are what encompass this wild feature, ultimately melting my brain upon first watch. The movie is a slow downward spiral into madness, beginning with a simple inquisitive nature and soon evolving into something quite chaotic and shocking. Without giving too much away (because I doubt most people have seen this), the core concept of “Coherence” is based in a scientific theory that is interwoven throughout the narrative in a fairly intricate fashion. However, from the outset, it is pretty rugged and rough around the edges.
Surely, a lot of the dialogue had to be improvised. Part of my mind melting went to the severe overlapping of dialogue, most of which was quite funny. Characters talk over each other, interjecting with responses to comments made earlier, while hitting the necessary beats of the situation. It’s realistic, and the performances are awesome. What’s better is the fact that I know none of them, making them appear to be even more real without celebrity status attached. Their fears came off as genuine, and I felt for them in this roller coaster of thrills and tension; all of which took place inside one location (a house).
“Coherence” is the kind of film I look to achieve in my independent filmmaking. Not necessarily story-wise, but in how much the filmmakers accomplished with so little. The story is unique and complex, and utilizes what little it has at its disposal. Being bare-bones works, and I was engaged throughout the majority of the film. Really, the only part I fell out of was towards the end, where things really go off the rails. It leaves things open-ended, while at the same time playing into the concept that one character talked about earlier in the picture. Though it worked in the scope of that, for some reason the final push in act three felt more tacked on than everything else. Regardless, I enjoyed this film thoroughly. I was hooked from the start, and while the shaky cam and constant pulling-of-focus can make my head spin from time to time, I was satisfied by it all. If you are looking for something fresh, crazy, and out-there, “Coherence” is the movie to go with. FINAL SCORE: 90%= Juicy Popcorn
Here’s the trailer: