All too often films fall into the nasty habit of replacing the need for a well-written and intelligent script with eye-popping visuals. However, there’s been many examples of mind-bending low budget films becoming cult hits. Cube, at its sequels, are probably the best examples of this. However, Fermat’s Room, Pi and Primer demonstrated that there’s a market for clever analytical movies. James Ward Byrkit’s Coherence is another great entry into a disappointingly uncluttered market.
Mike (Nicholas Brendon) and Lee (Lorene Scafaria) throw a dinner party and invite three sets of couples: Em (Emily Baldoni) and Kev (Maury Sterling); Hugh (Hugo Armstrong) and Beth (Elizabeth Gracen); and Amir (Alex Manugian) and Laurie (Lauren Maher). On the drive over Em’s phone inexplicably shatters. As she conveys the news to the guests, she places the blame on the comet passing over. When this last happened, over a hundred years ago, people complained of experiencing strange phenomena. The others ridicule her until their phones stop working and the power goes. When they go out into the street to see if the whole area is effected, there’s only one house which still has its lights on.
The devil is in the detail, and James Ward Byrkit’s debut is as intricate as it is clever. The many worlds theory has been explored before in film, but never with such subtlety, tension and brilliance. Humans are not rational by nature and Byrkit plays on this throughout. The cast are all impressive and add believability and integrity to the subject. Don’t expect to be dumbfounded by science. This is very much written in a way that any dinner party guest could understand. Coherence is fascinating, intelligent and thought-provoking cinema.
Coherence is out in selected cinemas on Friday.