For a sci-fi indie of vast ambition but limited means, Coherence does a sterling job with coherence. Even as reality fractures into multiple versions—a spooky comet is affecting the suburban space-time continuum—the movie’s plot is clearly advanced, as are the attempts of a group of dinner-party guests to figure it all out. Someone introduces the quantum theory of Schrödinger’s cat (“I’m allergic,” bats back a nervous friend) in a way that makes eerie sense, while everyone jumps at sharp knocks at the door and wonders who might be calling. It could be copies of themselves.
Cowriter-director James Ward Byrkit is less confident fleshing out his characters beyond their one-trait stereotypes (the closet alkie, the twitchy New Ager, etc.). His premise has Buñuelian potential, but too often he settles for the shocks of a Twilight Zone episode. Only one unnerving sequence near the end—perhaps an alternate you is a happier you?—suggests the anxiety that this thinker might have mustered more thoroughly.
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