In Review: Comet

by Daniel Goodwin on 02/07/2015


This quaint and quirky indie from debut writer/director Sam Esmail seems like a sugary relation to last week’s Brit rom-com Everyone’s Going To Die. But where Jones’ film was a darker, crime-linked love tale, Comet offers a discombobulating sci-fi twist by weaving parallel universes into its slender almost chemistry-free romance. Justin Long stars as the cynical Dell, a neurotic stoner who meets Kimberly (Emmy Rossum) at a meteor shower viewing event. Kim abandons her jock douche date to run off with Dell and the film charts the couples’ relationship through various periods via slack plotting, entwining timelines and alternative realities before waning for a drab finale. The movie cannot be called a prime essay, in which dynamic plot is combined with charismatic characters—it’s the opposite.

Long is on top form, channelling Woody Allen with his over-analytical, quick-fire ribbing and Rossum is also decent but Esmail’s direction is offbeat and dispassionate. This combined with a scattershot screenplay and oddly framed shots makes Comet an eclectic and often muddled oddity with a dubious view of modern love. It’s needlessly complex and flounders in attempt to find a fitting style, sitting awkwardly between genres. A slightly magical fairytale element manifests through folky sci-fi vistas but the story fails to unify for a fitting resolve. Comet merely trickles into alienating mediocrity while attempting to explore bolder territories. Strong dialogue and decent performances go some way to bolster what there is of a narrative but the charming moments are scarce.

While comparisons can be made to Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004), Michel Gondry’s film had a more interesting central concept and a strong narrative structure on which to hang its foibles. Comet’s lack of rhyme or reason combined with a tendency to flit jarringly between time zones, make it feel like more of a sauntering mood piece than a unique sci-fi curio. There are a few funny moments and the dialogue is often sharp but chemistry between the leads is a vital component in a film of this kind, and the lack of it is flagrant. The limp narrative and dainty genre traits make Comet feel like a flawed, disorientating oddity that fails to generate wonder and ultimately suffers from a serious lack of heart.

Daniel has awarded Comet two Torches of Truth


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