I just love movies that play with the whole time/space continuum theme. PRIMER, LOOPER, and TIME CRIMES are definitely at the top of my list, and though it's not exactly a time travel movie, its dimension jumping premise has earned COHERENCE its place among these mind benders.
The film begins with a group of old friends converging at one of their homes for a dinner party. Among the various topics of dinner conversation is the news of a comet that is passing over the earth that night.
According to celestial lore, one of the last times a comet passed this close to our planet, strange and unexplained events occurred throughout the world. Aside from the usual eerie phenomena, there were people claiming that their loved ones were not really themselves or had even been replaced with dopplegangers. Though most of the group dismiss the spooky stories as nothing more than tall tales, it is impossible for them to ignore the fact that none of them have a cell signal some of their phones screens are spontaneously shattering for no apparent reason. When the electricity in the house goes out, two fellas from party decide to go investigate the house a couple blocks down that is still lit up like Christmas. What they report upon their frantic return kicks off a series of confusing events that eventually conclude in one hell of an amazing mind warp.
The brilliant part of COHERENCE is its simplicity, which is a crazy thing to say about a story that becomes so increasingly complex. It takes place in one location, uses a cosmic event rather than a machine to facilitate dimension jumping, and it features a cast of actors that are mainly improvising throughout. What is not simple about the film is the genius way that it keeps the audience guessing and questioning right up until the conclusion.
COHERENCE is a terrific addition the the time/space canon of films. Writer/director James Wars Byrkit takes some of the basic themes we are already accustomed to and puts a wholly unique and fun stamp on the genre. The low budget look of the film actually helps to create a feel of intimacy in some parts while elevating the suspense in others.
COHERENCE is definitely a film that is meant to be watched more than once, and I can't wait to get my next chance!
- Annette Kellerman