Viktor (Rinal Mukhametov, Attraction, Attraction 2: Invasion) wakes up in his apartment. But something feels wrong. As he groggily moves around he notices the walls seem to be forming as he watches. In the corridor, a neighbour seems to be literally not all there, What awaits him outside is a bigger shock, a world where the laws of gravity and physics don’t apply. And menacing creatures stalk the streets. Welcome to the world of Coma.
Director Nikita Argunov and his co-writers Timofei Dekin and Aleksey Gravitskiy get their film off to a visually stunning start. Not surprising as Argunov’s background is in special effects. It’s meant to grab the viewer’s attention and it certainly works. Coma is set in a world that is almost entirely created with CGI. Even if it’s only in the background, most shots contain effects depicting the bizarre world the film is set in.
Viktor is rescued by a group of strangely dressed fighters that includes Fly (Lyubov Aksyonova) who explains where he is. He’s in a coma, and the bizarre M.C. Escher world around him is the result of the intermingling of the memories of everyone else who is in a coma. The group’s leader Yan (Konstantin Lavronenko, The Blackout: Invasion Earth) further explains that in this world he’s not tied to the limits of his body. He can develop his abilities to the level of a superpower. But what abilities might an architect have?
Coma bears obvious resemblances to Inception and The Matrix. There’s a hint of The Road Warrior in Yan’s desire to take his people from their location to a new safe haven. The costumes have a steampunk/Waterworld look to them. It’s as if the film’s plot was created in the same way as the world it’s set in. Thankfully the filmmakers add enough original ideas to the mix to keep it all interesting. The look and origin of the creatures, called Reapers, for example. Or a firefight taking advantage of the world’s weird physics. When backed up with well-staged action scenes the results are quite entertaining.
A twist late in the film does bring some discussion about reality versus illusion. Is being a superhero in this artificial world better than an unhappy existence in the real world? Thankfully this doesn’t get too heavy or deep, because Coma is meant as light entertainment, not heavy drama. The film’s artwork put me in mind of a YA dystopian film. Which is what this really is, a Russian Maze Runner or Divergent. And on that level, it’s an enjoyable film.
Coma will be released on Blu Ray and DVD on August 4th. There are listings for both a dubbed and subtitled streaming version on Amazon. The listing for the disc however only lists a subtitled version.