Coherence (2013) / Thriller-Sci Fi
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but would be R for language and scenes of violence
Running Time: 89 min.
Cast: Emily Foxler (Baldoni), Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen, Alex Manugian, Lauren Maher, Hugo Armstrong, Lorene Scafaria
Director: James Ward Byrkit
Screenplay: James Ward Byrkit
Review published July 10, 2014
As a comet passes overhead (one known to have caused strange phenomena when it does), causing cell phone glass to crack, power to go out, eight members of a dinner party discover their world has gotten a little bit stranger when they realize that they've entered a virtual "Twilight Zone."
Coherence is a clever and twisty genre exploration that delves into quantum theory. Like the example of Schrodinger's cat, in which a cat is put into an enclosed box with a vial of poison, as long as the box isn't opened, both realities can be said to exist: the cat is both alive and dead. It is only when the box is opened that one of those two realities is decided. In Coherence, the premise goes a step further by putting the four couples in the mix, in which they realize that they're in the proverbial box in which a seemingly infinite number of outcomes are co-existing at once, and what's most confusing, they're beginning to blend.
James Ward Byrkit writes and directs this low budget independent film that plays like a mumblecore trip into the bizarro world. The visual components are a weakness, with its digital film textures and far-too-shaky camera work, but the interest level remains as the story gets progressively weirder. Byrkit also puts together a pretty good troupe of actors, and while the nature of the movie isn't necessitating powerhouse performances, it does feel as though we're eavesdropping in on conversations among friends who've known each other for a while, and who have a history and dynamic with one another that goes back a ways well beyond the point in which they walk through the house's front door.
Coherence is a puzzle posing as a movie, and your enjoyment of it will almost wholly be linked to how much having to think while watching you like to do. Unlike, say, Transformers: Age of Extinction, in which, it is said, you should leave your brain at the door, you'll definitely be needing your full faculties for this one, because you'll get more out of it by going all in. You'll wonder why Rod Serling doesn't introduce the scenario before this one, then you'll also wonder, once it nears its conclusion, where Miss Marple is to explain the mystery's details. I wish I could tell you more about what the film is about, but discovery is half of the experience. If you like head-trip flicks like Pi and Primer, and you don't mind low tech specs, you'll probably enjoy trying to make logical sense out of Coherence.
©2014 Vince Leo