Sunday, December 18, 2016

Coherence


   Coherence is a movie that absolutely impressed me. It's not perfect, but it's genuinely great despite it's few flaws. It's a science fiction thriller that is intriguing in concept, and haunting in execution. It explores themes of self-identity, uniqueness, and the value we place on both. I kinda wish I could leave my review at that. It was word of mouth alone that got me to see Coherence, and the word was simply "great". My friend insisted that this was a damn good movie, and he was absolutely right.

   I wholeheartedly urge you to just go watch it if you can. It's not a thrill-ride, or an action movie, but it is a thoughtful science fiction flick. It's low key and non-flashy, like an antidote to all the gigantic and obnoxious blockbusters that the Hollywood machine cranks out. But, seriously, if you don't need any further convincing, just go watch it. Myself, going in blind, I was a bit concerned. The movie opens more like a soap opera and less like a sci-fi thriller. We're introduced to a group of friends all showing up for a casual get-together dinner.

   Lots of old tension and clashing personalities, but you get the sense that in general, these people like each other. Nevertheless, their fun night would quickly take a turn for the worse and the weirder. I am hesitant to say any more than that, because one of the great things about Coherence is being in absolute suspense about what's going to happen next. Even when the movie tips its hand, it's still questionable as to how it's going to end. By the time the credits rolled, my nerves were sufficiently jangled, and my brain was thinking in overdrive. I feel like this is right up there with The One I Love, another excellent low-key science fiction flick that had soap opera-ish beginnings.

    I wouldn't be surprised if not a single visual effect was used. Despite it's far out sci-fi concept, Coherence makes do with nothing more than what seems like the set of a living room sitcom. It's consistently surprising then, that the movie is so continually inventive and tension-filled. I also found it fascinating that such basic interpersonal conflicts influenced the plot in such big ways. I feel like my hands are tied to some extent, talking about Coherence. It's in rare company alongside big concept science fiction movies where the slightest plot detail could be a spoiler in the right light. It's always best to know as little as possible when watching a movie like this. Coherence is absolutely no exception.

   The movie isn't perfect though. Some things happen too easily. There's a scene where the characters need answers to some crucial questions, and the answers are nearby in such an implausibly convenient way, it made me facepalm. That's probably my sole nitpick with the movie, because otherwise it's incredibly solid. A great cast deliver stellar performances in this flick, populated with unique visual motifs and a thought provoking story that'll leave you with some really fascinating questions. It's one of the hallmarks of a good sci-fi movie that it'll have you thinking about it days after you've finished it. Coherence is one such movie. Not to be missed.

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