Movie Review: Coherence (2013)

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I know this movie is older than most of my reviews, but it was recommended to me as a real mind-screw, and I just can’t say no to that. Coherence is a 2013 psychological thriller revolving around eight people, four couples, who attend a dinner party on the night a comet is visible in the night sky. Director James Ward Byrkit, in his debut, specifically chose actors who did not know each other and had improvisational skills. There was no script, and each actor was given a page of notes regarding their characters before each major scene, so many twists are only discovered naturally by the “characters” as the real-life actors work them out.

+ Emily Baldoni and Nicholas Brendon (as Emily and Mike, respectively) are the two ‘main’ characters, though all of the eight are equally important. It’s hard to explain exactly why without giving things away, but rest assured this is an ensemble cast
+ the tension builds very slowly, with many minor twists and turns going potentially unnoticed until you start to piece things together. It was just as I said to myself “wait, that can’t be right because of…” that one character’s face changed as if they had the same revelation, and then voiced that thought.
+ the film is mostly shot inside the dining room of the dinner party, using lots of close ups, which helps makes things feel a bit claustrophobic but never stifled
+ the soundtrack is lots of

– the pseudo-science stuff is kind of hit or miss, either gratuitous or far too simple, but luckily it is never dwelled on for more than a few moments

Should you see this film: Yes. A very tense atmosphere, a grounded but still very sci-fi plot and a very well cast affair makes this a film you will need to watch at least twice.

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