Justin Long is a name you might not know. That said, you would certainly know his face. Having started his career as day-saving computer nerd Brandon in 1999`s cult comedy Galaxy Quest, he has appeared as a supporting character in over seventy films over the last few decades, from mediocre horror movies and Britney Spears exploits, to voicing Alvin in those ruddy awful chipmunk films. For all his efforts, however, Long has never managed to make a household name of himself.
Judging by his performance in his latest film, however, that could be soon set to change.
In his new film, Comet, first time director Sam Esmail takes us on a lucid journey along the tempestuous relationship of a young pair of social misfits. Told through a disjointed dreamlike narrative, Esmail paints a serene colourscape of emotion and imagery as he transports us back and forth throughout the story of the young lovers.
Long stars as Dell, an academic suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, causing him to be brutally honest in his House-like view of the world. Falling instantly in love with Emmy Rossum`s naïve yet impulsive Kimberly, the two embark on an unlikely voyage of psychological lust, isolation, betrayal and ultimately acceptance. Driven entirely by the two characters, the narrative leaps from the beginning to the end of their relationship and back again, occasionally stopping at integral moments in their life together, disorientating and yet entrancing the audience as we begin to piece together the real order of events before the film once again muddles them before our eyes.
Managing to turn every cliché of the romantic genre on its head, Comet is a love story for the modern world. Hitting each note that we know of failed relationships past, Esmail breathes new life into a story that we know all too well, creating a touching and familiar tale that nevertheless keeps us entranced by its innovativeness. Set to his dreamlike backdrop of meteor showers and Parisian cityscapes, Esmail truly captures the passion and uncertainty of an inevitably doomed relationship. With Daniel Hart`s intelligent and evocative score coupled with a compilation of some of the most wistfully affecting pop-songs, this is a treat for all of the senses.
With its sharp and witty script, Comet plays out like the youthful lovechild of Michael Gondry and Kevin Smith, nostalgic and luminescent in its delivery. Indeed, if his first film is anything to go by, Sam Esmail could very well be one of the great cult directors of the future. With outstanding performances by its two protagonists, this is without a doubt one of the most intoxicating films of the year. Definitely not one to miss!
Dir: Sam Esmail
Scr: Sam Esmail
Starring: Justin Long, Emmy Rossum, Kayla Servi, Eric Winter
Prd: Lee Clay, Chad Hamilton, Scott G. Stone
DOP: Eric Koretz
Music: Daniel Hart
Run time: 91 mins
Comet is in cinemas from 3 July 2015.
Check out this exclusive clip of the film below.