Muldoon checks out COHERENCE at Fantastic Fest 2013!
Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here at my favorite film fest in the universe, Fantastic Fest. I’ve come every single year since this shindig kicked off way back when, so it’s more than a pleasure to get to share a few thoughts on some fun films with you all and over the next week, hopefully you’ll see a decent chunk of reviews from your favorite JURASSIC PARK loving pal at AICN.
So let’s kick things off with my first film of the fest, COHERENCE. Now while I feel the bulk of folks headed on over to a certain machete wielding sequel today, the first day of the fest, I was curious to see what director James Ward Byrkit and co. pulled off with their high concept thriller about a group of well off middle aged folks having a dinner party on the night of a comet’s passing. “There’s more to it than that, right?” Yep, spoiler alert: things don’t go as planned and the group is faced with a truly bizarre predicament.
At two minutes in, I found myself curious and wanting to know what was next. Sadly, what followed was 86 minutes of something I feel I’ve seen too many times already. I know, man, I really do hate being “that guy.” I want to love every film I see and only write about those, much less leading with my first review of the fest! I hope I’m wrong, I hope folks really like this and I’m crazy, but I’m laying it out there, I just didn’t care for the film.
The film’s lead, Emily Baldoni, is great. So much so that I just found myself wishing she had more to do in the thing. In fact, I wish the same for all of the characters in the movie. It felt like there was a lot of set up to something, but then they would eat or drink or argue, then set up for the next thing, then eat, drink, and argue and so on. I just felt nothing really ever added up. It was shot well and well acted, but I found myself frustrated more than I would have hoped. The film plays like an episode of the TWILIGHT ZONE, in fact if you’re familiar with THE MONSTERS ARE DUE ON MAPLE STREET, you know the film’s main source of drama already (hint: it’s trust). This film reminded me why TIME CRIMES and PRIMER are such good films. The type of territory Byrkit dabbles in with the film is nothing to shrug off though. This movie falls into a damn near impossible to nail subgenre like PRIMER, DONNIE DARKO, and TWELVE MONKEYS. The time travel/super physics/parallel universe genre is a tough nut to crack and on this one, the high concept gamble just didn’t pay off.
THE MAN FROM EARTH came to mind a lot as the bulk (95%) of the movie is all about the group, the hive, the make up of many folks with different opinions all trying to wrap their heads around something out of this world. Unfortunately I found it hard to relate to. I couldn’t see myself in many of their shoes and while you can argue “Muldoon, maybe that’s just you,” you’re absolutely right. A few characters I could absolutely go with, but then you have a few make decisions that just don’t add up or they flip out when it makes no sense, or they have that “aha” moment and suddenly understand something that doesn’t make sense, but hey – it pushes the story further. Something about watching successful people in a nice home with few problems drinking wine and talking about relationships during the middle of a freaking insane event just isn’t for me. Damn I wanted to like this.
It feels like I’m beating up on the thing and I’m really not. I just found myself genuinely feeling cheated at times. Is it a bad movie? No. Is it a movie that will blow your mind? No. Only thing left is the coldest unintentional sting a filmgoer can say, the wretched lukewarm “egh, it’s okay.” Again, I’m genuinely no one special. I have no film criticism degree. I’m just a mid-twenties guy who loves movies and occasionally writes about them, so if you’re still thinking you’d want to check the film out after reading my thoughts, I hope you do – and I sincerely hope you come back and say “Muldoon, you’re full of it – that movie was amazing.” I just don’t think that’s the case. While I wouldn’t recommend you plop down $10.00 a ticket to see the film, if it happened to pop up on Netflix, you should check it out. Again, it’s not terrible, not poorly acted/shot/directed/etc… I just feel like the movie I saw was two drafts too early, however I’m still curious to see what Byrkit’s got next!
- Mike McCutchen
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