Cleverly blending an interpersonal drama with a sci-fi thriller, writer-director James Ward Byrkit creates a riveting little gem on a remarkably low budget. Without any special effects, he spins a enjoyably twisted tale about identity, ambition and relationships while completely freaking out the audience. As the plot ties itself in knots, it may begin to feel a bit ridiculous, but it's so gripping that it leaves us wanting more. And Byrkit also skilfully makes sure we get the point.
On the night when a comet is shooting through the sky, a eight old friends gather for a dinner party. They begin to talk about how previous comets caused power outages and reported spacial anomalies, then settle into picking over their intertwined past relationships, mainly because Kevin (Maury Sterling) is struggling because his ex-girlfriend Laurie (Lauren Maher) has turned up with his old pal Amir (Alex Manugian). When the lights cut out, they venture into the inky night and discover that the house across the street seems to be a mirror copy of theirs, complete with their dinner party taking place inside. Has the comet caused a rift in the space-time continuum? Or did Beth (Elizabeth Gracen) lace their dinner with ketamine?
Much of the dialogue is improvised, which gives the film a loosely naturalistic tone and prevents it from ever seeming like a stage play with eight increasingly frantic characters. It's also shot in an earthy way, using soft lighting and insinuating editing to drop clues about what's going on here. Combined with the characters' own theories and conjecture, this adds a fizzy intensity to every conversation, complicating the bizarre situation with their old rivalries and lingering romantic feelings. The focal character Em (Emily Foxler) is a fascinatingly complex young woman with an unnervingly pragmatic edge. And the most intriguing person is Mike (Nicholas Brendan), a recovering alcoholic worried that he really wants a drink.
Continue reading: Coherence Review
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