Movie Review: “Comet” Strives For Your Approval But Falls Short


Review by James McDonald

Set in a parallel universe, Comet bounces back and forth over the course of an unlikely but perfectly paired couple’s six-year relationship.

After Dell (Justin Long) and Kimberly (Emmy Rossum) meet by coincidence at a meteor shower convention in L.A., they are destined to be together. Or are they? That’s the question proposed to us in the new movie “Comet.” The story takes place over the course of six tumultuous years during their relationship that doesn’t just span oceans but parallel universes. They meet, fall for each other, break up, get back together and then we’re left wondering if they are indeed, meant to be together. I like Justin Long, he made an impact on me starring in the effectively creepy “Jeepers Creepers” and Emmy Rossum in “The Day After Tomorrow”, both stars have indisputable onscreen appeal and have made some amazing films over the years and here, they simply shine but the film leaves a lot to be desired for.

When we first meet Dell, he is standing in line at a meteor shower convention in L.A. and it is here that he first sees and meets Kimberly. Although she is at the function with another guy, it doesn’t stop Dell from talking to her and as the evening progresses, they continue to bump into each other and eventually, he begs her to take a leap of faith and go out with him. She does so, with great reluctance but there is something about him that she is attracted to, she just can’t quite put her finger on it yet. As they continue talking into the evening, we realize, as does Kimberly, that Dell is sardonic, unbelieving and always pessimistic. He can never appreciate the moment at hand, he is always wondering what things will be like in the next five minutes and the five minutes after that while Kimberly loves to live in the here and now.

This becomes their way of life for the next six years and after a while, you wonder how and why they stayed together for so long. Kimberly is witty, spontaneous and full of life, Dell on the other hand, is predictable, overly cautious and prudent yet the film still manages to make an argument for why they should be together. The film also wants you to know that it is unlike any other you have seen and constantly reminds you of that fact by how the film is shot. Most movies employ a standard approach to telling their story and these can vary from movie to movie but overall, the visual representation is always the same. When two characters are facing each other and involved in a conversation, the scene cuts back and forth between the two, usually placing one character on one side of the screen (left) and the other character on the other side (right).

Again, this technique can vary but mainly stays consistent, for the sake of continuity and eyeline but in “Comet”, cinematographer Eric Koretz frames his shots off-center with a character appearing down the bottom right of the screen in one shot and then another character appearing in a completely random position in the following shot and while the overall look of the film is beautiful and crisp, this aspect serves more of a distraction than anything else as you find yourself searching the frame for what it is you are supposed to be looking at instead of naturally being guided to it. Initially, Dell doesn’t believe in love but after the events of the film have unfolded, he has changed his mind but is it too late? Will he be able to keep the one person he was meant to be with for all time?

The movie flashes from the beginning of their relationship to the parts in between and then to the end and we switch back and forth constantly. We get to see each of them, individually and as a couple, in the various stages of their alliance and how they both progress, as humans but being polar opposites, from the very beginning, you just can’t stop wondering how and why they last as long as they do when in all reality, they wouldn’t have even had a first date together. I liked the movie, at times but I don’t want to like a partial movie, I want to like the entire story and if I walk away from it feeling mostly detached and unemotional, then something is wrong.

In theaters and on VOD now

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James McDonald
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