|The stunning Emily Foxler leads a superb ensemble cast.|
Dir. James Ward Byrkit
Starring: Emily Foxler (aka Emily Baldoni), Nicholas Brendon, Maury Sterling, Elizabeth Gracen, Lauren Maher, Alex Manugian, Hugo Armstrong, Lorene Scafaria
Review By Greg Klymkiw
When Mike (Nicholas Brendon) hosts a dinner party amongst his coterie of attractive thirty-something friends, an emotional cloud hangs over things, threatening the gathering to go slightly awry when the current beau (Maury Sterling) of beautiful Emily (Emily Foxler) brings his ex-girlfriend (Lauren Maher) along as a gesture of kindness/pity to this woman who's recently been shut out of activities she was once a part of. Mild discomfort, however, slowly descends into terror when a passing comet knocks out the power and opens a creepy door into a parallel universe.
James Ward Byrkit's directorial debut from his fine screenplay, cleverly focuses on the characters and their interplay so that by the time the astronomical event occurs, we're not only invested in these people, but the threat of their immediate universe colliding with a parallel doppelgänger universe takes on implications of the most malevolent kind.
There's little need to reveal more of the actions as they unfold since a great deal of the shivery fun are the occasional revelations of jigsaw pieces that seem to connect, but never quite do until the harrowing climax.
Even then, you'll be tempted to partake of repeat helpings, since what you think you do know, nags at you long after as perhaps, not being what you know at all. This is an especially admirable element of Byrkit's writing. Ambiguity is fine, but it's so much better when it creeps up on you after you see the film than while you're watching it (where said ambiguity risks being annoying).
Much as this is an original, keenly observed picture with a superb ensemble cast and sharp writing, I was a trifle distracted and disappointed with the directorial preponderance upon handheld camera work. None of the shots or selections are bad, all the compositions are first-rate and certainly rooted in the dramatic action, BUT, I longed for way more static shots so that the handheld would have far more impact in terms of the picture's suspense.
The mise-en-scene occasionally loses its power. Given that there's no specific reason for the handheld since (thank Christ!) this isn't a found footage piece it's especially distressing. One assumes that exigencies of budget and schedule might have contributed to this decision, but the interior lighting is often so effective that it feels like there were options to either mount the camera on sticks or deliver more subtle floaty-cam-styled handheld.
Hopefully this approach will only mildly detract from one's enjoyment of this piece, as there's so much to genuinely respond to and it's definitely a film that's guaranteed to raise the hackles and instil mega-goooseflesh.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: *** 3-Stars
Coherence is a D Films release in Canada which begins its theatrical run exclusively at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Oscilloscope is releasing the film in the USA.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ORDER ANYTHING FROM AMAZON BY USING THE LINKS BELOW. CLICKING ON THEM AND THEN CLICKING THROUGH TO ANYTHING WILL ALLOW YOU TO ORDER AND IN SO DOING, SUPPORT THE ONGING MAINTENANCE OF THE FILM CORNER.