Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Markus Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
“Coherence” is a low budget sci-fi film, full of tight camera shots (in an obvious attempt to avoid spending money on extras and production design) and was only at my local theater for a grand total of one week. Also, it’s quietly one of the best films of the summer.
Writer/director James Ward Byrkit puts his unique twist on the sci-fi genre with his 89 minute feature film surrounding a dinner party where an oddly paranoid yuppie group of acquaintances consisting of friends, an ex-girlfriend and the guy from “Roswell” (or is it?) have conversations about Schrodinger’s Cat (fans of “The Big Bang Theory” will know what I’m talking about) and a mysterious comet passing overhead, right before all hell breaks loose in a multi-dimensional kind of way.
I can’t reveal much more than that, nor would I want to. In fact, the less one knows about what happens next, the more fascinating “Coherence” becomes. And more importantly, the more forgiving audiences will be of its budgetary flaws (the casting, the multitude of poorly lit sequences, the lack of stunt coordination and did I mention, the casting?).
Though “Coherence” does take more than a few minutes to get acclimated to, with all of its abrupt cuts (which makes more sense as the film moves forward) and the annoyance of having to listen to a naturalistic mishmash of voices which stems from multiple conversations happening at once (an aspect with an actual dinner party would contain) as this film pressed forward with the perfect amount of lean-forward-in-your-seat tension and twists, it became much more than I expected. Resulting in (as far as the story is concerned) yet another sci-fi film better than “Snowpiercer” and maybe the most impressively outside of the box, low budget sci-fi film I’ve seen since “Primer” or “The Man from Earth”.
Final Thought: Every once in a while an indie horror/sci-fi filmmaker comes forth with an initial feature that will serve as a calling card as he/she cements their name within the genre (e.g. James Wan with “Saw” or Ti West and “The House of the Devil”, or Shane Carruth and “Primer”) . In the case of “Coherence”, even though the story is far better than the restless direction, which I suspect has a lot to do with budget constraints; it is undeniable that Byrkit will be a director to watch out for in the near future. “Coherence” is definitely worth checking out during these late August/early September months when the theater is filled with mediocre big-budget films that production companies have dumped on us like so many buckets of ice water during a drought.
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