Monday, 2 September 2013

Upstream Color (2013) - ★★★★½

Director: Shane Carruth
Writer: Shane Carruth
Stars: Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, Andrew Sensenig, Thiago Martins, Frank Mosley, Carolyn King

Upstream Color is one of the strangest, most interesting films I've ever seen. It's extremely weird, wildly original, and masterfully put together. Although the pace is a little slow, the film's ending left me feeling flabbergasted at how amazing the whole experience was. This isn't a film to everyone's taste, and I can understand that (kind of like myself and The Tree of Life). I'm still beaming over how different this film is. Just when I thought 2013 was becoming a pretty dud year for cinema, Shane Carruth surprised me with a touching, mind-bending, and quite an uplifting film about a subject I'd never even heard of before. I don't know what else to say really, except that I love this movie!

I can't say much in my plot summary, because the plot is very straightforward and to talk about the basics would be to give away the surprises. Kris and Jeff are drawn to each other kind of like magnets. Both of their lives have been shattered by something we won't understand until the end of the film. We follow their story and their struggle as they try to live a life where they don't really know what's going on.

I just love the story. I've never really seen anything like it. There are elements of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but it doesn't focus on romance or comedy. There's also some pretty cool sci-fi aspects, kind of like Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, but it's not really about that either. We focus mainly on the struggle of two people trying to understand that which is almost incomprehensible. I don't know what genre to file this movie under to be honest. It's not really dramatic, nor horrific... it's just... Upstream Color. There's no other way to describe it really. We're brought into an almost unbelievable world, a world that we certainly hope doesn't exist. This story, and it's interesting ideas, brings up an array of thought and interest. I believe I'll just file this film under "Interesting." 

This film had me dangling on a hook, just begging to find out what happened to Jeff and Kris. The performances are fantastic by both Amy Seimetz and Shane Carruth. I'd never seen Seimetz in a film before, but after seeing Upstream Color, she already strikes me as a seasoned actress. The chemistry between the two made the film pretty engrossing, and also created a sense of urgency for a happy ending. Carruth starred, wrote, and directed this movie, and it's only his second film! I hope his career flourishes.

I loved the style of Upstream Color. Simplicity is the word to describe the cinematography and music, but it occasionally jumbles up the past, present, and future scenes to add a bit of variety and effect to the story. It worked really well too. Once or twice I caught myself yawning though. I think it lingers a little too long in some scenes. As a whole package, I think this is one of the best films of 2013. It's just so darn interesting. A film that can only get better upon each viewing. Besides the terrific story, the one thing I'll never forget about Upstream Color is the look on the piglet's face at the end of the film. CUTEST. PIG. EVER.

I'm sure there's a whole lot more to this film than I've mentioned, especially to do with the novel Walden by Henry David Thoreau. 


  1. Great review of my favorite film of 2013 so far. Upstream Color astounded me, and that ending. My god. The smiling pig's face, and Seimetz's perfect look of contentment... moved me to tears.

    1. It was extremely moving. I felt so sorry for her throughout the struggle to remember. That ending... it was a cinematic achievement for humanity and pigs! haha