The quest to make a good romantic drama is like the quest to reach the summit of Everest – many try, and most fail. Those that achieve the goal form a very small, elite group. Every year, we see production after production pack their equipment, don their cramp-ons, and strike out purposefully across the inhospitable terrain of marketing and trailers – only to arrive back at basecamp, battered and bruised by inclement critics.
Comet is currently approaching the Death Zone – getting ready to make that final push to the top as it heads toward its journey’s end, otherwise known as its release date. The Death Zone is ‘make-or-break’ – one wrong-footed move and it’s all over. But, for this small, independent movie, the odds are currently in its favour. With positive reviews from the festival circuit keeping it warm, Comet is striding onwards, armed with a confident and impressive new trailer.
The film is the feature length directorial debut from writer-director Sam Esmail, and stars Justin Long (Tusk) and Emmy Rossum (Shameless). It takes a detailed look at a six year relationship between Dell (Long) and Kimberly (Rossum), as they ricochet between romantic crises through parallel universes – visiting different moments in a non-linear narrative as they try to figure stuff out. If it sounds like 500 Days Of Summer-meets-Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, I certainly wouldn’t argue with you – that’s definitely something that comes across in this trailer. But, there’s more.
Taking the familiar romantic trope of ‘young couple navigating relationship trials,’ and building upon it in unusual and unexpected ways, Comet seems to be an impressive feature-length debut from Esmail. The visuals are stunning, and the dialogue is beautifully written and well-performed. It is also the latest in a slew of wonderfully creative career choices from Long, who once seemed destined to languish in a lifetime of interchangeable romcoms. Here, he gets to flex some dramatic muscle, and the result is intriguing, to say the least.
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding – and it will only be in watching the movie in its entirety that we will discover whether Comet can stay the right side of irritating melodrama. I have one concern going in, though, and that is that the female character might be a tad under-developed. My alarm-bells ring for two reasons. Firstly, the press for the film make mention of his professional status as a scientist researching cancer drugs, while she is, well, ‘quirky.’ That could just be reflective of the media doing the reporting, though.
But, secondly, there’s the scene in the trailer where Long declares that, since she believes in love and he doesn’t, “let’s put it to the test and date each other.” She agrees and they shake hands. This suggests that the thrust of it is, once again, “a ‘quirky’ and enigmatic woman teaches an emotionally-distant man how to love again” type of movie. I would hope that, with a parallel universe device being used, this is just one of several versions of the relationship that plays out – or that perhaps, such convention gets turned on its head part way through. There’s only one way to find out – and that’s by going to see Comet when it opens on December 5th, 2014.
Source: The Playlist