Quick Take: Coherence (2014)


Indie sci-fi is one of the most exciting arenas in filmmaking these days. Led by storytelling innovators like Shane Carruth (2013’s mesmerizing Upstream Color), directors are more willing to tackle high concepts without the hindrance of expensive CGI effects. Coherence follows this model, depicting old friends at a dinner party interrupted by a comet passing by overhead in the night sky. I won’t spoil what specific effect the comet has on the group, but the twists and turns of the plot are fascinating even in their simplicity (read: cheapness). Director James Ward Byrkit shoots the movie largely inside and within the vicinity of a single house, adding to the claustrophobia of the shadows with which he fills the screen. As we learn more about these characters and their quiet dysfunctions, several cast members stand out, like Nicholas Brendon’s (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) alcoholic actor and Emily Baldoni’s insecure dancer. By the end of the movie, you’re not sure exactly where it’s ended up, but it’s not a frustrating ambiguity. In fact, it’s rather haunting.


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