Movie #16: Coherence


First off, this sci-fi film is not the second in the Divergent trilogy. Rather, it’s a head-scratching indie-sci-fi (a growing sub-genre that I’ve loved ever since I discovered the movie Primer — check it out if you like tying your brain in knots). Anyway, set mostly over the course of a single evening’s dinner party, Coherence has four couples discussing their lives (as happens at a typical dinner party) and like the seminal The Big Chill, the dinner is a venue for unresolved relationship issues and buried secrets to emerge. However, the catalyst for events is actually the overhead passing of a comet. According to one of the characters (who apparently Googled trivia/history/lore about comets) there are some bizarre things that have been rumoured to occur when comets pass by. Once the neighbourhood loses power, they start to investigate a house down the street who mysteriously have their lights on. The rest of the movie is all mind-bending and twisty — but in a fun way, not a surreal bizarre way. Just to spoil a little bit more of the premise, odd things start to happen as characters wonder about the reality of events and start talking about alternate realities. Questions arise about whether they truly know who each person actually is. On a very simple level, there’s a lot of anxiety with the lights out and people becoming a little paranoid. Every knock at the door seems ominous and frightening. Add to that the kind of steadi-cam realism of how the movie was filmed, plus the authentic dialogue, and it becomes a very engaging experience — I felt like I was trapped in that house with those people. The performances are all very good, natural. Nicholas Brendon (who you may remember as Xander Harris from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) retains his jokey, sarcastic persona (though his character is named Mike and was apparently on the TV series Roswell rather than Buffy). I really don’t want to spoil the movie, but it’s a lot of fun as the situation starts to reveal itself. While characters are freaking out, the audience starts to piece things together. There are a few surprising twists, and the ending is a bit extreme and kind of baffling, but I really enjoyed following along as these characters tried to find their way out of their own little Twilight Zone. (4 out of 5)

16 down, 34 to go.


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