At the risk of coming off very spoilery, I’m forcing myself to mention as little as possible about the plot of this film. Coherence arrived in my inbox with a note about the film being “certified fresh”. a great attention grabber for a prolific movie reviewer like myself. I occasionally run the line between horror and science fiction here, and Coherence knows its role. It might be much more sci-fi leaning, but I promise it would be horror if you were experiencing it on a personal level.
This intense thinker is a sci-fi film wrapped in a dinner party, wrapped in relationships, wrapped in the terror of 40+ dating motif…with mild Ketamine overtones. Sold yet? Keep reading.
Coherence doesn’t have a traditional protagonist, but does push the viewer close to “Em”, portrayed by actress, Emily Baldoni, and she’s great in her role. Eight friends, former lovers, new lovers, and all points between, gather for a dinner party on the night a comet passes by the Earth. The comet is making it closest pass in 100 years, and the awareness is high. The film mentions the Tunguska Event of 1908 along with other historical events to paint the viewer into a box along with Schrödinger’s cat. Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), even plays a semi washed up actor whose claim to fame is starring on a television series called “Roswell”. The film is self-aware, and that along with convincing characters and believable dialogue, helps sell the realness of this Special K-laced experience.
We don’t know what the immediate or long-term implications of the comet will be, but as fans of cinema, we know something will happen. More so, watching the characters react to those events, is the best part of the film. If you’re not as smart as Stephen Hawking going in, I promise you’ll still enjoy it without a working knowledge of quantum anything. Coherence is punctuated with intensity, nice acting, and a slowly unraveling human condition. Writer/director, James Ward Byrkit, knew which road to traverse to bring Coherence to life, and his balancing act is impressive.
Fans of old school horror and sci-fi should commit to the relatively quick film, and see if the end of the movie matches your expectations. The cerebral spin makes everything resonate with even more questions, and I assume that’s precisely what Byrkit had in mind. Coherence doesn’t beat the viewer over the head, and that goes a long way when you’re trying to stick the events together. Like it or hate it, it will make you think. This is the best science fiction I’ve seen in the last couple of years.