Don’t lose focus
A smartly written, thought provocative indie hit, Coherence tackles the subject of alternate realities and time bending issues with confidence and enough nuance to make it a powerful thriller in its own right. With well written characters and convincing dialogue, Coherence is not only one of the best in its genre, it also boasts a slightly different experience with multiple watches, giving the film more weight and longevity.
The premise features eight friends at a dinner party talking before witnessing a comet passing overhead. What follows is a number of increasingly surreal and reality bending events that leave all of them questioning who they are and more importantly, who everyone else is. The story is delicately balanced between being convoluted and just complicated enough to make it a smartly written thriller. Although there are times where it looks like the subject gets away from the writers, on the whole the film is well written throughout. Those looking for an easy watch or something to switch off to may well be turned off by Coherence’s challenging themes but for those who persevere, there’s an incredible amount to like here.
With such a complicated plot, Coherence so easily could have fallen apart without convincing characters. With massive amounts of improvisation and shot across 5 nights on a shoestring budget, Coherence is surprisingly good at making its characters as believable as possible considering the improv used throughout. Its not perfect, with some lines of dialogue not quite as effective or delivered a little too abruptly on the back of the last character speaking but on the whole, Coherence feels like a natural conversation between friends and there’s a great flow to its dialogue.
Having rewatched this title three times, there are still moments that stand out or little details I missed the first time through and this meticulous attention to detail is one of the things that set this indie title apart from the crowd.
The opening establising shot with the dinner party, whilst crucial for the overall character building, does feel a little too dragged out and with such a long opening, this might put some people off but once Coherence gets going, its so gripping and tense it demands your attention. With the predominant setting being the interior of one house, the claustrophobic setting makes for a really unsettling watch as doubt begins creeping into the character’s minds. That’s not to say its bad, quite the opposite, it really heightens the tension and helps establish itself as a very good thriller.
Pacing issues at the start aside, Coherence is a smartly written indie thriller. Its hand held camera angles and improvised dialogue certainly won’t be for those who like a more structured approach to filmmaking and it does have the feeling of an indie title with its shoestring budget but there’s no denying Coherence’s appeal. Its one of the best alternate reality films and its incredible attention to detail makes multiple viewings a must. Although its not going to win any awards and will definitely fly under the radar with its lack of advertising, its well worth a watch and is one of my personal favourite films.
Verdict - 9/10