My jumbled, mixed up thoughts on the beautiful hot mess that is Sam Esmail’s Comet.
“I never thought love was real, now I think life isn’t real without it.”
I watched this twice in 24 hours. As if that would somehow make my deeply conflicted thoughts on it at least somewhat coherent. In the end, it made things worse. There’s just so much I hate about this film. And love.
Bursting with raw energy and unabashed cynicism, Comet is a piercing, witty rom-com for the modern day nerd. Annie Hall meets the 21st Century with the visual stylings of Mr Robot, the narrative structure of Cloud Atlas and the self-loathing of every beta-male-led dramedy ever. The end product tries so hard to be a spiritual sequel to Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, yet falls just short of the mark. It’s still curious enough to pique your interest, funny enough to make you smile, relatable enough to pull you in…
It’s also a tad superficial. On paper, it ticks all the boxes: deeply romantic sci-fi imagery (the meteor shower, two suns), Justin Long’s oddly charismatic Alvy-Singer-meets-Tony-Stark impression, Emmy Rossum’s likeable lead turn and lack of overt manic-pixie tendencies, and Sam Esmail’s distinct, disarming visual style. Perhaps it’s the disjointed nature of the story (made all the more complicated by Esmail’s typically ambiguous twists and turns), but the collective impact of the movie never lives up to the brilliance of certain individual scenes. The narrative never quite gels and the whole feels less than the sum of its parts.
Comet can take pride in being a visually striking, heart-rending, dynamic painting of a relationship constantly in flux. There’s genuine beauty to be found in amongst all the bitterness, self-loathing and dry wit. It’s just not as transcendent an experience as it seems to believe it is. Not quite.
Watching this film a second time felt like an entirely different experience – as if I was watching a different film altogether. It was less joyful, less heart-warming… less positive in general. It’s romantic quirks were overshadowed by the unpleasantness of this unstable relationship. I thought that was interesting.