COHERENCE

PrintE-mail Written by John Knott

DVD REVIEW: COHERENCE / CERT: 15 DIRECTOR: JAMES WARD BRYKIT / SCREENPLAY: JAMES WARD BRYKIT / STARRING: EMILY BALDONI, MAURY STERLING, NICHOLAS BRENDON / RELEASED: FEBRUARY 16TH

“(Coherence) contains several distinct concepts, which are limited cases that never occur in reality but allow an understanding of the physics of waves, and has become a very important concept in quantum physics.” Thank you, Wikipedia. But come on, you lot are sci-fi fans so you’re bound to know someone geeky enough to explain it better than that. You see, this is what Coherence is (probably) all about. We think that’s what it’s about anyway. If we’re honest, we’d have to say our A-level physics is a bit rusty, but they mention Schrödinger's cat at some point so that’s good enough for us (and please don’t write in if we’ve got it wrong – this is a film review, not our homework). But if Austrian thought experiments of the ‘30s aren’t your thing, don’t worry; this is not a film you have to entirely understand to enjoy (and that’s probably just as well for those of us who review these things).

Eight friends meet for a dinner party on the night a comet is passing overhead. Weird stuff begins to happen (phone screens spontaneously crack) and it’s all blamed on the aforementioned comet because you can normally blame most things on a comet (including the Norman Conquest). When the lights go out, only a single house a couple of blocks away seems to have power. Two of the guests investigate and discover a very similar dinner party. They also return with a box containing a table tennis bat and photographs of all eight guests with apparently random numbers written on the back. Then things get really weird...

Sounds intriguing? Well it is. It sucks you right in and keeps you wanting to know more. It’s made on a pretty small budget (it was filmed in five days in the director’s house) with just those eight actors but the largely improvised performances are all top-notch. Low budget movies can be let down by the director recruiting his mates, but when your mates include the likes of Nicholas Brendon (we’re embarrassed to admit we spent at least half an hour trying to remember where we’d seen him before) then that’s not so much of a problem. There are a few scares on the way and a great deal of entertaining confusion, but what we were most impressed by was the fact that it ends up making a certain amount of sense. These kinds of messed-up-reality movies can often really disappoint in the end when the ideas run out and the film needs to finish, but Coherence even manages a decent climax and twisty conclusion.

Any faults? Well apart from the fact that comets don’t look like that, “there was this comet in Finland” is one of the dumbest lines we’ve ever heard. But it is improvised and people do say dumb stuff...

Incidentally, “coherence” was an answer on last week’s University Challenge but it was a physics question, not a film round. [Thanks for that – Ed]

Special Features: None
 

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