Recently, I’ve stumbled upon a TV show called Mr.Robot (its review is in the works). I loved it so much I Googled everything there was to Google about it and read all the articles/facts/ratings/etc about it because I was so into it. What really caught my eye when I was reading through all of this, was the creator of the show – Sam Esmail.
I have never heard about him and was super surprised when I found out that he only has a record of 2 movies and 1 TV show. Yes, he only has 3 creations, but has already been recognized for his superior work on Mr.Robot. I decided to check out the rest of his work. One movie, Mockingbird, was a horror, so it was a “No, no” for me, but the second one was Comet which was a romantic drama, so I gave it a shot.
The story of Comet is pretty simple. It’s a story of a couple and their relationship over the course of 6 years. However, what makes the story so special is the way it is told. Firstly, the audience is constantly jumping between different times and is constantly receiving new information about what happens in the future, but Esmail doesn’t unveil what has been told in the previous scene straight away. You have to pay close attention and remember what characters are saying because a reference of one event might not come up until much later in the movie. The best way to describe it, is like imagining that you are solving a puzzle and with each new scene you are getting a new piece, but that piece might not be needed until later in the movie. There are some movies that use this technique and if you ask any director they will probably say that it’s fairly common to do that. However, Esmail doesn’t put all the eggs in one basket. What makes Comet stand out from the rest of these movies is that these little piece are not used straight after they were introduced. Events might be mentioned or introduced to the audience, but they won’t be the main part of the storyline until later in the movie. I thought that this was a great way of telling the story, especially for this genre.
Secondly, the story of Dell and Kimberly (Justin Long and Emmy Rossum) is different from the rest of the romantic movies. The audience are always checking if what they are seeing on the screen is real. There are various hints here and there suggesting that all of this might be a dream or heaven or another universe, but the beauty of it is that we are never given the answers. Even at the end of the movie there is a sense of unfinished story and a sense of unanswered questions. I love it when directors do that. However, this constant reality check during the movie is not the main focus of the story. The story is focused on the relationship between two characters on screen and a parallel universe aspect of it was more of a way to play with the audience and get some uniqueness to the story. I feel like this part of the story could have been exploited more as at the end, the film turned out to be a romantic, whereas if its parallel universe aspect was exploited more it would have definitely added a much needed depth to the movie. Mr.Nobody would be a good example of how to play with different realities and universes while still maintaining the focus on the story.
Overall, I thought that the script and the story was well written and that the way it was told was quite unique in comparison to other puzzle-based ways of storytelling in movies. However, in my opinion, the movie was lacking depth. The story didn’t go deep enough to make it stand from other romantic movies and even its parallel universe aspect of it, which was a great addition to the film and a great way to keep the audience’s attention, was not enough to make the story special.
Even though, I loved the movie and the main reason for it was not just the story, but also the way it was shot. Comet’s cinematography and its proper, beautiful, set of colours made the experience of watching a movie so much better. As a person who loves beautiful cinematography with pleasing colours, great depth of field and beautifully aligned shots I was simply over the moon with Comet. There are three TV shows which I really appreciate for its cinematography – Hannibal, Mr.Robot and Peaky Blinders. All of them have great sets of colours and simply beautiful shots. I was so happy to see that come to a big screen and done so aesthetically right. I honestly think that Comet had one of the best, if not the best, cinematographies ever. Each shot gave me joy as it was done so perfectly.
In addition to that, the actors in the movie were casted so perfectly. Justin Long and Emmy Rossum delivered an absolutely terrific performance. If you would pause the movie at any moment while people were watching it they would be able to describe who the characters are and what their personality is, as if they’ve known them for a long time. It’s not because of the way these characters were written, but because the acting was done so well. You totally bought into these characters thanks to a great performance by the actors. However, there was no connection with them. It was just interesting to watch them and the development of their storyline. Fun fact, Kayla Servi who played a small role in Comet was nominated for “Best Web Performance – Young Actress” by “Young Artist Awards” in 2015. Her role didn’t exceed 5 minutes of on-screen time, but she was still nominated because the audience were so bought into the characters in the movie.
Comet has a rating of 6.7 on IMDB which is totally understandable as most people don’t want to get too involved in a movie and don’t want to waste their time watching a “would they – wouldn’t they cliche”. However, if you do like these kind of movies and you appreciate exceptional cinematography, great music, good performance and good story, with not a lot of depth to it, than this movie is for you. Now that I’m writing this in the evening I’m about to go and watch another, similar, movie, but what really bothers me is that there isn’t one similar to this.
If you read this far – congratulations and thanks, I really appreciate people reading that much of my writing considering the fact that I don’t write at all. Here’s a BONUS Fun Fact for you: Justing Long plays a character called Dell in Comet. Between 2006 and 2009 he was a part of “Get a Mac” ads where he played a Mac and John Hodgman played a PC. While we are not sure which PC was portrayed in these ads the odds are on Dell.