My review of Coherence

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Directed By James Ward Byrkit 

Coherence starts out as a typical old friends with the usual complicated personal histories getting together for a big dinner kind of movie. Then the lights go out, and the movie becomes quickly a suspenseful sci-fi alternate universe flick. It does so extremely well with a whip smart script and great acting from an ensemble of familiar actors mostly of the guest star, third banana variety according to imdb. But that shows you how much talent there is out there, as everyone in this is solid. One of the best ensemble pieces I have seen in a few years, is Coherence. 

The biggest name actors in the piece are in chronological hipness, Elizabeth Gracen - Amanda from Highlander Raven! (nerd swoon), Xander from Buffy The series (Nicholas Brendan,) who plays an actor named Mike who says he was in Roswell for four years in one of the best meta moments of the movie. Also on board is Max (Maury Sterling) from Homeland

The other actors all have good tv, movie resumes, and their characters all have interesting believable relationships with each other, and as a group. Sometimes you wonder if in these ‘friends trapped in a house movies’ these people really would be friends, or why the movie forces them together. Nice dialogue and moments from actors make this gang of underachieving approaching middle agers work.

The pacing and unfolding of the plot, basically that a passing comet has created a local blackout, and a zone with some sort of portal to random alternate worlds, that are almost like the one we are shown. The group we start with very subtly morphs into a different group as people pass through these portals and end up in different slightly different versions of their world. 

The Science-y end of what is going on is well turned exposition, as the group look for clues as to what is up with what they think at first is just one duplicate of their house, and themselves. This is a film that definitely merits a second viewing, and perhaps some discussion. It’s not too heady, in its understanding of parallel universes, but rather, approachable and believable while depicting of the kind of things people might think or do when confronted with alternate versions of their world and themselves. The ending plays out exactly as I was hoping it would. I highly recommend this film as well as an example of what you can do with almost no budget. Great low budget film making master class to be had watching and dissecting this film.

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