Coherence


Director: James Ward Byrkit.
Screenplay: James Ward Byrkit.
Starring: Emily Baldoni, Hugo Armstrong, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon, Lorene Scafaria, Elizabeth Gracen, Alex Manugian, Lauren Maher.

“This whole night we’ve been worrying… there’s some dark version of us out there somewhere. What if we’re the dark version?”

Much has been said about Karyn Kusuma’s dark mystery The Invitation in 2015. It became the dinner party thriller that people were talking about yet James Ward Byrkit’s Coherence (which was first released two years earlier) went largely unnoticed. It did gather some positive word-of-mouth around the festival circuit but this film was more dynamic and much more deserving of a wider audience. 

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Plot: A group of friends meet for an evening of chow and chat on the night that a passing comet flies close to the earth’s atmosphere. It’s an event that hasn’t happened for decades but also has the possibilities of some strange events occurring. The friends soon discover that they might be living in an alternate reality as fear and paranoia creep into their increasingly fraught and tension filled dinner party.

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Shot on an impressive shoestring budget of $50,000 in one location and with an entirely unknown cast that improvised most of their lines. With this in mind, Coherence has a very strong chance of being an absolute disaster and a word of warning to all budding filmmakers in what not to do. However, it’s quite the opposite. Byrkit shows what the possibilities are when the writing is strong and you have a confidence in your approach. He has a fine and steady hand with his direction and delivers a taught, intelligent and hugely involving mystery in his feature debut. Coherence really has no right in being as good as it is but it absolutely works. It’s strengths lie in treating the audience with respect and you’re left in a position where you have to return the favour. It earns your admiration as it demands your attention to keep up with the twisted and, sometimes confusing, plot developments. That said, Byrkit doesn’t want to leave any of his audience behind, so he does take the time to explain his scientific and philosophical theories but he never loses sight of his brisk pace and he doesn’t forget that the film is essentially a complex puzzle – and a very good one at that.

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There are some minor plot discrepancies here and there but these do not overshadow the sheer brilliance and execution of its genuis science fiction concept. A remarkably assured debut from a promising new directorial talent.

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Mark Walker

Trivia: Instead of the actors receiving scripts, they would each receive only a small paragraph (that only they would see) as their goal for the day. This allowed for the story to unfold naturally and create genuine reactions in the other actors.

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21 Responses to “Coherence”

  1. So glad you enjoyed this one! I thought this was a great watch 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my favorite movies, Muckers! Nice to hear you liked it too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A favourite you say, sir? I can see why. It’s a solid little film with a fabulous premise that plays out brilliantly. Impressively shot on a shoestring as well. Loved it mucker! Boat Drinks!

      Like

  3. I’ll confess, i was completely confused by the film so much that i stopped enjoying it. Also i didn’t like any of the characters.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Totally new to me but I’m very intrigued. Love the poster!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s well worth a look, bro. I was very impressed by how it managed itself on such a shoestring budget. It’s just another example of how you can’t go wrong when you have a strong concept. A gripping little thriller that has an intelligence to it.

      I believe it’s available on demand if that makes things easier and the poster will make more sense when you it. Solid little film and I was very tempted to bump my rating up to 4.5

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Been wanting to watch this forever man! Glad it curried favor with you, and I think I’ll get along with it just fine. That’s really great trivia at the bottom, too. That must be so refreshing for actors to have to create in that way, rather than the typical line-learning and reading yada-yada. Of course as you suggest, some of these actors may not have been in the biz very long so everything is pretty ‘fresh’ but no doubt that sounds like an interesting way to work.

    Like i’m sure it always is with people like Terrence Malick.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keep this one on your list, man. It’s a tight little film. It is refreshing to see the approach it takes and the fact that the cast is largely unknown really adds to its believability. One of the best little indie’s I’ve seen in some time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The whole one location thing definitely sounds like something that would appeal to me. By having just a singular location, a film for me often feels very taut.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good little movie this isn’t it? It just goes to show, like Primer, that you don’t need a big budget to make a fascinating sci-fi movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a great little flick, man. I had seen it a while ago but after a rewatch, it still stood up so I added a few brief thoughts on it. Absolutely no need for a big budget when you’ve a genius concept!

      Like

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