Monday, January 19, 2015

coherence [2013]

eight friends gather for a dinner party on the night a comet passes very close to earth.  the comet, called miller's comet, is a beautiful fireball in the night sky.  the friends eat, drink, joke and make merry until the power goes out.  oh, the main character, a blonde woman named em, while driving to the dinner party talks to her boyfriend via her mobile phone.  she loses her connection and the glass on her phone shatters in her hand.  when the power goes out the friends look out the window to their neighborhood and find only one house about two blocks away with the lights still on.  one friend said he is going over to the house to use their phone.  he said that his brother is a theoritical physicist and if anything weird happens when miller's comet passes earth to call him.

what kind of weird shit happens?  hold on now.  this movie is a slowburn.  the tension grows until the denouement.  to give away anymore would be a disservice for this film is a good exploration of the theory of the multiverse and decoherence.  what?  theoritical physics claims that there may not be one universe but an infinite number of universes.  and living in each of these other universes is a version of you.  the passage of miller's comet causes a ripple in space-time allowing for decoherence.  the universes mix together.  the house with the lights on is the same house of our friends but in another universe.

rather than get all cerebral by trying to explain the physics -- remember this is fiction and the science used to explain all the weirdness is rather wonky -- the filmmaker james ward byrkit, who also wrote the script, keeps the explanations to a bare minimum.  byrkit instead focuses on the psychological state of his characters.  how would you react if you saw yourself across the street?

i believe the great argentine writer jorge luis borges has a piece titled 'the other' where an other borges meets borges on a park bench in cambridge in the middle of the day.  borges of course records the meeting and concludes that both men, tho the meeting was real, were dreaming.  what is reality if it is mutable?  our friends take little in stride and calmly record this anomaly like borges; they panic.

and what if you get stuck in an exact but alternate universe?  these are the questions brought to fruition by the actions of our guests.  em panics.  she is the voice in this confusion.  she does what we many of us might do.  for this is not a deep-think pic.  rather james ward byrkit crafted an intimate film of perplex and growing dread.  he even managed a couple of jump scares for us.  the people in this movie are ordinary players upon the world's stage.  that is why we can identify with them and feel their fear.  this is a good movie.


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