The Line-Up: Coherence

1416878686850Coherence: an important characteristic to have in any form of communication, but also the title of a film.

The cast is comprised of a group of vaguely recognizable actors, which is not completely accidental. The premise takes on a parallel universe, déjà-vu quality. The only exception to the cast might be Nicholas Brendon who used to have a reoccurring roll in the Buffy TV show. However, you might remember more recently from an alcoholic string of misdemeanors for trashing hotel rooms (hoteliers of the world beware) and most recently walked off Dr Phil. Even more interesting, did you know this guy had a twin brother? Kelly Donovan.

Back to the movie Coherence and to the guiding principle of Coherence which was not necessarily what the director was after having no actual script. Instead, the director/writer had a 12 page summary of characters and events and each day gave the actors a page of notes for their character only. More of a thought experiment than you might expect from your average film, especially as it would then lead to the movie having a more significant effect on the on the actors when they watched the film than the actual audience.

The film has some great ideas and a couple of nice twists. Watch out for glow sticks. The conclusion of the film felt a little odd. Desperate, maybe predictable and slightly disappointing. Our main character seems to grow balls at the last second. She starts the film off by saying she needs to think everything through and we are meant to assume she made a snap decision because she missed out on opportunities in her past. It is all there, the film is put together to make us accept the events at the end, hence maybe predictable. However, it didn’t feel satisfactory, possibly because the character changes more than I expected or just because it felt like any ending to this type of reality warping film. I ended up wondering whether a reality warping story ever have a happy ending. I might have preferred one where the characters recognize they are out of sync with their own realities and now have to deal with the consequences. I am imagining an Animal House Party ending with descriptions of what the characters end up doing in later life. Despite the minimal distribution of Coherence, it was never to have anything more than one of those typical reality warping ending. It traded on too many clichés.

Take the camera work, why did it need to be a queasy cam and why as the movie progresses the queasy cam starts to loose focus and drift randomly across the room? Loads of films have used the technique, so it is nothing new. Many films have a good rational for using the technique, this one didn’t. It made a little sense in Cloverfield. It was written into the script. Here it initially seemed clichéd.

Coherence contains a few disappointing elements around a solid narrative. Although I won’t mention that the reality alternating arrival of a comet starts to sound like the Ariana Grande music video. Well, maybe I’ll brief mention it and then say that this movie is a little more challenging. Know anything about Schrödinger’s cat?


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