Every now and then you stumble across a cinematic gem. Sam Esmail’s direction debut feature, Comet, is a film worthy of consideration. A romantic piece with dramatic flare, brushes of comedy and a sci-fi-ish tone, you’ll be in for a treat.
Justin Long (Dell) and Emily Rossum (Kimberly) are the two protagonists, and we follow their relationship over a six year span. The first thing that strikes you about this film is the fresh performances that we get from these two. Their talent shines in this film, as they mange to hold the entire film together. Basically they are the only two characters in this film, risky business indeed. But, you can tell that Sam Esmail has really laboured over his script, while Long and Rossum really do give their best to voice this strong script.
Pulp Fiction is probably the best example of non-linear story telling, and although Comet doesn’t come close to the splendour of Pulp Fiction, it does employ a similar story-telling style. Typically this can get cumbersome and difficult to follow. Comet tinkers on the edge with this, but manages to tell a story non-sequentially, giving us just the right amount of information in each scene, for us to stitch it all together. It’s worth noting that this film is not a passive experience, you need to pay attention, to get it. Having said that, the characters do come to life quickly and they are engaging, enough to get us involved.
Do Long and Rossum share on-sreen chemistry? I think this is very much a matter of opinion. There are scenes that show a glowing chemistry between them, but there are other scenes that don’t quite sell it, and this would probably be the major criticism to the film. Additionally, the script can get a bit much, but for the most part stays relevant and fresh. The score can feel too heavy in parts. Don’t get me wrong, I love a strong heavy score, but only when it is applicable. As dramatic as the film gets, there is no need for such a heavy tone in parts. At the very least your speakers will get a workout, that’s if you don’t get complaints from your neighbours!
Eric Koretz, is a name, that I am sure we will be hearing more of, in the cinematography department. His work for Comet is outstanding and bold. No doubt with the directional guidance of Sam Esmail, Eric Koretz presents this story using some fresh and sometimes wild photographic techniques in framing and camera placement. This distorted imagery will keep you engaged. There isn’t a lot in terms of visual story-telling for this type of script and story, but it’s astounding how brilliant this film looks. Comet is more a visual piece, than a romantic piece. Nicholas Winding Refn, director of Drive and Only God Forgives, has some interesting competition. I am eager to see more from Sam Esmail and his cinematographer, Eric Koretz.
FilmMunchers, if you’re in the mood for some romance, and some thought-provoking imagery, Comet will suit.
TRIVIA COOKIE: Apparently this story takes place ‘a few parallel universes over’. There are some visual cues that remind us of the fact that the events taking place in this film, are not on earth.