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This film is really out there. Fairly low budget. Basically no special effects (odd these days for a science fiction film). For me that's a plus. No big names. That's also kind of a plus.
It deals with the juxtaposition of universes as it affects a group of young people having a dinner party. A comet is passing over-head -- no big deal as it poses no immediate threat of impact with Earth. But apparently it causes some kind of spacial displacement. The dinner party doesn't realize any of this. They experience an electrical black out and and a few other minor physical phenomena, but nothing that would set anyone's hair on fire.
Then it takes on a "Twilight Zone"-like dimension. Maybe you remember the "Zone" episode called "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street." This was a Rod Serling original teleplay. "Coherence" is not an exact match. There are no aliens. Yet many of the elements are similar. The drama is confined to a single neighborhood and a small group of people.
When the lights go out, some members of the dinner party go outside to see how widespread the electrical problem might extend. They notice that just one house about two blocks away still has full power. They decide to investigate. And then the story really gets going.
At first I didn't think I was going to enjoy the movie because it is filmed in that same "Blair Witch" hand-held camera style. But I hung on. The dinner party banter was well done, and when the lights went out, no one really freaked out. This was a big plus because it was very real. If you were put into a similar situation, you wouldn't start screaming or become un-hinged. For me, this showed real intelligence on the part of the film makers.
NetFlix gives you an idea how well you will like or dislike a film. They assumed I'd give this two and a half stars. Usually, NetFlix is pretty accurate. I've rated close to 3,000 films. They were a bit off on this one. I'd give it a full three stars -- and maybe a bit over for its ambitiousness and restraint.
Best of all I haven't seen anything quite like this. Their attempt to take a really complex issue of theoretical physics and throw it into a mundane setting was very ambitious. Of course not everything works. As what usually happens is that not all the characters behave quite logically or consistently with what we normally understand as normal human behavior. However, it's mostly fun to watch -- no, fun isn't the right word -- more engaging and entertaining on a kind of loose sci fi level. It's one of those engrossing, small films that everyone will overlook.
And that's unfortunate. Even though this film is not a blockbuster, it deserves to be watched. It's by no means a perfect science fiction film, but it's head and shoulders above many others that simply employ computer graphics to pull you in to a bizarre world. For anyone who enjoyed the "Twilight Zone" series, you have to try this on for size.
What makes this film worth your time is its restraint and reliance on the actors to convey the element of weirdness. With so much over-the-top computer graphics-based "wow" mechanisms at work these days, it's refreshing to see a film that relies on story and acting for a change. The film, though flawed in many respects, takes us back to an era when tension and drama were built not through visual effects but by actual good script writing.
This movie will no doubt disappear or basically it never appeared, and that is a pity. Some low-to-mid-budget films are really quite good and deserve greater recognition. This is one of them.