SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB: WEEK 114: Coherence

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by europe1, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    NOTE to NON-MEMBERS: Interested in joining the SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB? Shoot me a PM for more info.

    Here's a quick list of all movies watched by the SMC. Or if you prefer, here's a more detailed examination.

    Chapter 2 of: MusterX tries to mindfuck the SMC!

    [​IMG]


    Our Director

    James Ward Byrkit

    [​IMG]
    Coherence is James Ward Byrikt's only directed film. He is more profitable in his work as a Storyboard Artist (of all things), having done the storyboards for movies like Rango, Baby Driver, and the Pirates of the Carribean franchise (what a bewilderingly random resume).
    Our Star

    Emily Baldoni (aka: Emily Malou Fuxler)
    [​IMG]

    Film Overview

    Premise: Strange things begin to happen when a group of friends gather for a dinner party on an evening when a comet is passing overhead.

    Budget: $50,000
    Box Office: $102,617




    Trivia
    (courtesy of IMDB)
    * Relying on a low budget of $50K, the movie was shot over five nights in a single location with dialogue that was largely improvised.

    * Instead of scripts, the actors would each receive only a small paragraph (that only they would see) as their 'goals' for the day. This allowed for the story to unfold naturally and create genuine reactions in the other actors.

    * The actor who plays Amir, Alex Manugian, is also the co-writer. He was essentially "the mole" who helped guide scenes if the actors went astray.

    * The story took a year to write.

    * The set only had 5 crew members: 2 sound guys, the director of photography, the director, and producer Lene Bausager.

    * The neighborhood was supposed to look completely dark when the first group visits the other house. It was the same night a Snickers commercial was being filmed in the neighborhood which used huge lights and hundreds of people.


    Members: @europe1 @MusterX @Scott Parker 27 @the muntjac @Cubo de Sangre @sickc0d3r @chickenluver @FrontNakedChoke @AndersonsFoot @Tufts @Coolthulu @Yotsuya @jei @Moretti @LHWBelt @PommyBen @Deus Ex Machina @ArtemV
     
  2. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre Steel Belt

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    After the first 20 minutes or so had me lamenting that I wasn't watching The Big Chill instead, this film totally entertained. Edge of my seat at times.

    Ending had me a little confused with how blondie played it. Not sure how she was expecting to get away with it. Also, if the version we saw in person was the original and the one on the phone was the copy then why would the copy have left the house and then called hubby? Either confront the situation once you get out of the tub or send the cops. I don't know how much sense it's all gonna make under scrutiny, but great fun nonetheless.
     
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  3. the muntjac

    the muntjac Black Belt

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    In a gist, a comet passes earth which opens a portal to alternate realities, and a group of people at a dinner party start getting freaked out and inadvertently and unknowingly begin intermixing with the other realities. At first, we think there’s only two separate realities, but later we learn there’s an infinite amount. The only character who seemed to have a higher understand of what was at play was Em, while everyone else was more in a panic and bewilderment. Mike (the Roswell guy) initially sees the solution as killing the other versions of themselves because he feared their reality would envelop his own, but later on it seems he realizes it was futile. Em on the other hand, comes to realize that there are infinite realities (or at least multiple ones) opened up, so she basically goes window shopping and spots a reality that hasn’t gone berserk yet. So, she decides to kill the version of herself in this reality in hopes of replacing her so that she can live in a happy, peaceful reality. But she botches her two attempts, and the version she tried to eliminate then calls Kevin as he’s looking at the version of Em that crossed into his reality. Movie ends.

    It seems the comet’s effects only last that night because even in the story that Em tells about the 1923 occurrence with the lady who says she killed her husband, but he’s still there, the cops come the following day. Em must have understood this, so that’s why she tries to replace herself in a reality where the dinner party people didn’t leave the house and intermix with other realities. They were completely oblivious to the comet’s effects. If all of the realities that tried going to other houses would have just stayed in their own respective houses, then every reality would have stayed all hunky-dory and unchanged. But human beings tend to get scared and do irrational things when under distress, so they started intermixing and messing with each other’s realities.

    In the first 10 minutes or so of the movie, we keep seeing the film cut to black and think this is just a typical movie technique to further time a bit, but what was really happening is that we were actually jumping around and looking into different realities. This becomes apparent later in the film when we see Em sitting at a table looking at the numbers she wrote, and we get a cut to black, but then we’re right back to seeing Em sitting at the table again while looking at the numbers. However, this time, the numbers are slightly altered. We Sam Beckett-ed that shit and leaped to a different reality. That’s what the abrupt cuts to black were.

    It’s interesting that the reality we follow mainly, let’s call them the blue-light people, seemed awfully jumpy and freaked out easily over things like the lights cutting out, knocking at the door, or any kind of noises outside. The peaceful reality towards the end, the one Em tries to assimilate into, weren’t jumpy at all because when they hear the car window get smashed, they calmly go out to look at it, have a, “Well, that’s a bummer,” demeanor about it, and then just go back inside. Then when they’re looking at the comet, the lights flicker out, and they laugh and think it’s fun. They didn’t escalate quickly into panic like other realities did. Everything was going fine for them, until another Em showed up and started ruining things.

    I believe the purpose of the medicine bottle that the one lady brings was meant to be a distraction, or red herring if you will, as a way to throw off the audience into believing that they’re all hallucinating. Although, it does actually serve a purpose later on in the film because Em tries to kill the other Em with it.

    The biggest thing I didn’t like about the movie was the way it was shot. The camera moves and wiggles around too much, and the focus kept going in and out on people’s faces and objects. It felt very documentary style, and I felt like I was watching an episode of The Office, but without the zooms and people talking directly into the camera. It makes sense for The Office to look like this since it’s a mockumentary, but it was very distracting and felt out of place for this movie. It was probably done to create tension, but I wasn’t digging it.

    Also, there were some moments of throwing in exposition for the audience’s sake, such as Em telling the story about the 1923 incident, and the tall guy reading from the book about multiverses. These both came about rather convenient for the plot’s sake in order to enlighten the audience as to why things are happening in the movie. But I suppose that’s better than the alternative of leaving the audience too much in the dark about what’s going on and intentionally trying to confuse us. I guess these were the realities where the tall guy's wife forgets to mail the book, whereas in other realities, she remembers to.

    I will say that I did like how the one Em decides to abandon her screwed-up reality and tries to kill an innocent version of herself in another reality and tries to covertly take her place. That’s some dark shit. I like it.

    I wonder, did this comet only effect these people at the party, or was this a worldwide thing? It seemed like none of them could go any further than their own surroundings. If they went into the dark zone, then they would just transport to another reality that also was taking place at the house. Surely there were realities were one, or maybe half of them, never even attended the party, or there were different people there. I tend to believe that it did happen worldwide. When the comet passed, people could only interact with realities in that specific moment of time with other realities that were very similar to their own. I think of it like a petri dish containing a moment of reality (such as having a dinner party with a group of specific people at a house belonging to Mike and Lee) being sorted with other petri dishes containing moments of realities that are almost parallel, and these petri dishes are only allowed to interact with each other. When the comet’s effects are over, the intermixing between the petri dishes ends, and everyone becomes free of that petri dish moment of reality, and then they live out the reality that they wound up in. The comet was basically a middle finger flying by just looking to shake things up.

    This movie is kinda hard to explain, but it makes sense to me. I thought this was a clever, little film. Although, the characters weren’t super interesting, and there wasn't a whole lot of action going on. The main drive behind the movie is the mystery, and I think the film laid it out pretty well. All and all, not a bad movie.
     
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  4. the muntjac

    the muntjac Black Belt

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    Invader Em's killing and body hiding skills were weak. It's like she never played the Hitman games.
     
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  5. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre Steel Belt

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    Like the cuts to black, I took this to mean something. Never figured it out though. :D


    Seems like it would have to affect areas and it's a bit of a flaw that nobody else came out of their houses or was out driving. But that would be endlessly complicated so best to just pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist.
     
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  6. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre Steel Belt

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    For sure. Still can't really make sense of the victim going from the tub to the phone.

    At one point I was trying to decide if the original group was really the "evil" group. Seemed like they weren't first in the timeline of interactions since homies came back with the box well before the first house decided to make one themselves.
     
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  7. the muntjac

    the muntjac Black Belt

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    Yeah, for the sake of the story to not get way too complicated, it’s probably easier to just assume this phenomenon is only affecting this group, but then why would a comet that’s passing the entire Earth only effect one particular group’s realities? It would make more sense to me if it was affecting the entire world. But since we never see any other neighbors from the neighborhood, it makes you wonder where they all are.
     
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  8. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre Steel Belt

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    Reminds me of an old joke.

    Where was Moses when the lights went out?

    In the dark.
     
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  9. MusterX

    MusterX Steel Belt

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    This is going to be a long explain, not this post, but this thread. Lets start with the red above because its a difficult question to answer.

    Coherence, Decoherence, and Schrodinger's cat have to do with quantum mechanics, which is how this film goes down.

    Coherence, the name of the film is...
    1. the quality of being logical and consistent.
      "this raises further questions on the coherence of state policy"
      synonyms: consistency · logicality · good sense · soundness · organization ·
      [more]
    2. the quality of forming a unified whole.
      "the group began to lose coherence and the artists took separate directions"

    Or, in physics, Coherence would be, two wave sources are perfectly coherent if they have a constant phase difference and the same frequency.

    Decoherence, which they talked about in the film is the loss of quantum coherence. Hugh gets his brothers book out of the car which is called "Gravitation, An Introduction to Current Research." In the book are his brothers research notes which contain two theories about how this might happen, Decoherence and Schrodinger's Cat.

    Schrodinger’s cat is named after Erwin Schrödinger, a physicist from Austria who made substantial contributions to the development of quantum mechanics in the 1930s. The idea is this.

    Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935.[1] It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat that may be simultaneously both alive and dead,[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] a state known as a quantum superposition, as a result of being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur. The thought experiment is also often featured in theoretical discussions of the interpretations of quantum mechanics. Schrödinger coined the term Verschränkung (entanglement) in the course of developing the thought experiment.

    So, Schrodinger said that in the quantum world, particles, can be in two states simultaneously, like both spinning and still at the same time. This is known as Superposition. So he constructed this idea of a cat in a box along with some poison and it goes like this.....

    [​IMG]
    Schrödinger's cat: a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor (e.g. Geiger counter) detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison, which kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schrödinger's_cat

    So basically the cat, because of quantum Superposition, is in two states simultaneously, both alive and dead. It is only when you open the box and look inside that reality collapses into one single reality, or Coherence and you see that the cat is either alive, or he is dead.

    The other theory that his brother writes about is that the two realities continue to both exists in a state of Decoherence, independent of each other, each creating a new branch of reality. Quantum Decoherence ensures that the two outcomes have no interaction with one another.

    This is where your question comes in bro. Emily thought she could get away with it by killing the other Emily because when the comet passed, Schrodinger's box would be opened and reality would collapse into a single event or reality, meaning the Emily she killed would cease to exist and she would take her place in the new timeline. In other words, the cat would no longer be both alive and dead simultaneously, it would be either alive or it would be dead, collapse into a single reality.
     
  10. the muntjac

    the muntjac Black Belt

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    Dramatic effect for the audience. Invader Em gets caught in a rock and a hard place.

    I guess you could also surmise that Invader Em isn’t the only Em that had the dastardly plan of swapping out another Em. Perhaps there’s realities where she succeeds, or is actually caught while trying to do the deed. Earlier in the film, a character says something like, “realities fraction off in a second depending on the choice made,” so infinite realities seem to be happening almost every second. It’s like how the multiverse theory states something like, “Anything that can go wrong actually does, but becomes its own reality.” Don’t quote that because I’m paraphrasing based on my shoddy memory of the theory.

    So I guess it’s really up to you to decide how deep and vast these multiverses spread in the film.

    I don’t think they were all collectively evil as a group. Each person was one reality of the infinite realities of themselves. In some of the realities, perhaps your friend Em is able to set aside her morals and murder another version of herself, or she is the one being murdered.
     
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  11. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre Steel Belt

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    Thanks. Sounds like she was a genius to pick up on all that shit so quickly. Or not, since it didn't work. lol. Also, what stops it from being the case that she (live original blondie) collapses into the dead blondie?
     
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  12. sickc0d3r

    sickc0d3r Black Belt

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    I watched this one twice the same night, which I think meant I had actually been thrust into an alternate reality by the coherence roulette wheel myself. When have I had the time to watch a movie twice in a row? But, after the first viewing I knew I had missed a lot of details. What a ride.

    On the first go around I was caught up early on by the character building, which was very well done. Especially given the mostly improvised nature of the film. Huge props to the cast. Mike especially gave us a really interesting, outside of the box (no pun intended) flawed character.

    And, I mean, come on. Wine, cheese, and special k! That's a party.

    When it was over I was impressed and entertained, but I hadn't pieced it all together. I think by the end when Em started seeking her perfect house, almost nobody was the original copy, and that almost everybody was now playing a game of musical chairs with different realities, scrambling to land somewhere good before the music stopped. Many had realized this was their chance to cheat their way out of the bad decisions, and find the best version of themselves. Each appearance was a new evaluation of a slightly different world and character.

    But, where did it start? What was really the first clue? I wanted to track this shit. And to be honest, I still need about 2 more viewings. I took the director's advice and followed Em through the second viewing.



    When Em's cell phone cracked as she was parking the car, I think she was snagged by the coherence right there. I do not believe she ever entered the house that existed in her reality. My guess is HER house is the house with all the lights on that they see during the firt power outage. She was outside in the roulette wheel, and the cell phone cracked because she was talking to Kevin back in her dimension.

    The group that was already there probably beat the comet, so they were good. But Amir, Hugh, and Laurie must have been imposters because they arrived late. Hugh's cell phone cracked when he tried to call his brother. And at the table Laurie and Mike didn't seem to really know each other. She was a fan of his show (Roswell!) and didn't recognize him. He thought she was a yoga teacher.

    The cuts to black seemed to mean dimensions were being created. They tended to come usually after some question was asked or decision was made. And Em told Kevin she wasn't sure about going with him to wherever he was going, and he said "if you don't say yes it becomes a no", which would indicate indecision also does it.

    Em's story about the understudy taking her life's work was another example of a poor choice costing her. I think it's why in the end she was motivated enough to kill for a better life. She also said with regards to alternate realities, "it's a chance to find a better version of ourselves".

    After the power outage things move fast, but we know the people that leave are lost to the void. Their dopplegangers who made the same decision somewhere else replace them. They run into some of those buggers with the red glowsticks.
    [​IMG]

    Em is figuring out nobody who leaves ever comes back. She refuses to let Kevin leave. At this point I think Kevin, Em, Lee, and Beth are the only ones who never left the house.

    When their cars get broken into and they all go outside, Em puts on her ring as a Kevin detector. Outside he gives the right answer about it, and hugs her. She says "was anything stolen" and they realiz they were tricked into going outside. Later, inside, he is no longer her Kevin because she asks again about the ring and he hrumph's it away.

    I think at that point Em decided to go look for a perfect reality, or maybe just the one where all the people are originals (NO BOX, lights on, pre comet gazing), because the one she's stuck in sucks. She confides in Mike but he's already given up. I think he has been looking to steal a life since early on, but he's found he's made the same mistakes in every version of himself. He confesses to Hugh that if there are a million realities he banged Hugh's wife in every one of them.

    The ending is most confusing. She gets the ketamine and creeps around the tesseract (yeah, reminded me of Interstellar) to find the perfect house. When she does she waits for herself to come out to get her ring, drugs the other Em (or suffocates her?) and throws her in the trunk.

    She walks in through the door to nowhere with that Em's sweater on. But then finds the drugged girl crawling into the bathroom, and--with no sweater on now--bashes her head in. Then she walks out to the living room and feints. Why did she feint? What happened to the sweater?

    At the end I guess the drugged girl was still in the trunk calling Kevin, so the Em in the bathroom was another Em, maybe trying to steal a spot herself? Was her dead body removed by the decoherence? Or was it the bathtub Em who somehow survived and decided to call Kevin instead of, like, walking up to them? Maybe she was in the hospital.

    I loved the movie. One of the better mind teasers I've ever seen and with all I just wrote there are about a million details and clues I didn't talk about. I'm sure we'll get to a lot of those. Great pick!
     
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  13. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre Steel Belt

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    It's like Detention in my view. No real hard & fast rules to make sense of the mindfuck, but a lot of fun.

    In the film the original group referred to the other group as evil and that's why I referenced it that way. The point was that I kept waiting for it to be revealed that we were watching the doubles, as a way to fuck with the audience for caring more about one incarnation than another.
     
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  14. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre Steel Belt

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    I was toying with that notion too and ultimately decided it didn't make any real difference.
     
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  15. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre Steel Belt

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    Good call. Hadn't thought of that.
     
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  16. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    Coherence in a nutshell

    [​IMG]
     
  17. MusterX

    MusterX Steel Belt

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    What Emily did may have been even darker than you think. She wasn't trying to Kill the other Emily IMO. She knocked her out and placed her in the trunk. She was trying to get her out of the picture until morning because she believed if that occurred the other Emily would simply cease to exist. The timeline would collapse into a single coherent reality which was the reference to Schrodinger's Cat in the film. The Cat is both alive and dead until you look in the box and then the cat becomes either alive, or dead, but not both. Emily felt the box would open and reality would collapse into basically her being alive and the other Emily either being dead or simply not being at all.

    As far as the comet affecting the entire world or just that house we have a couple ways of looking at it. On the one hand it could have affected the entire world but we don't know. We only know that there was a "dark zone" between the two identical houses and their dinner party participants. The zone that was somehow darker than dark seemed like a wormhole type of thing or what Einstein called Rossenberg Bridges.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. sickc0d3r

    sickc0d3r Black Belt

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    The actors actually had no idea those bangs and lights cutting off were coming, so the first day they were pretty jumpy.

    Great thought. My guess is it could be contained to one area since it is a gravitational anomaly. Maybe it only has like a one in a billion chance to cause coherence. But it would be cool if the whole world got all mixed up and I became a top gun fighter pilot like I wanted to when I was 15.
     
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  19. sickc0d3r

    sickc0d3r Black Belt

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  20. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    First of all, I'm going to give my review of the film, without touching on the whole multiple-dimensions, Schrödinger's Cat flim-flam, which I'll get into at a later date. And by a later date, I of course mean that I'll wait until other posters have broken everything down and then jumpy in saying "I was just going to say that, I'm very smart you see.":cool:

    I taught it was a pretty mediocre film

    I've always disliked the whole hand-held camera aesthetic, but it wasn't too bad here. The dim lighting was rather atmospheric, it brought mood to a very low-budget film with a modicum of success.

    One of the big problems I thought was that the whole venture started feeling preposterous and silly at times. Like when they retrieve the book and start talking about Schrödinger's Cat and Decoherence (bad exposition, basically). So here we have about ten or so people talking about multi-dimensional theory while dressed for an evening party. Then they are charged by duplicates of themselves with menacingly crimson nightlights. Then there is even a mini-brawl when one guy explains that he's banged the others dude wife through multiple-dimensions. It all starts feeling a tad incongruous and preposterous at one point, undermining the seriousness that the film is striving for. Instead of being invested in the flow-of-events you just cock one eyebrow and say "yeah that's alternative-dimensions for you, all right!"

    Best moment in the film was probably when Emily meets her "boyfriend" by the car and its not him, eery.

    Triangle told a story fairly similar to this in a much more interesting, driven, and evocative manner.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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