Upstream Color

This film may provide my shortest review to date.

From writer/director/editor/basically every job associated with this film, Shane Carruth (Primer) comes an impossible to explain tale about two persons: Kris (Amy Seimetz) and Jeff (Shane Carruth) who find themselves brought together by forces that they do not understand. Along their journey, they will share experiences, relive moments that never happened and stumble across pigs. Lots of pigs.

This is a film that really would take a couple of pages to describe, and by the time you have described what the film is about, you have ruined the whole movie. I don't want to ruin the whole movie for anyone curious about this film, so what I have given you is all the plot you will get. Either see the movie, or just cheat and go read the Wikipedia page with the plot breakdown.

This film is nowhere near on par with Shane Carruth's first effort: Primer. What we have instead is a film with some big ideas, but Shane Carruth isn't able to convey his ideas as well as was done in Primer. Here, the film feels somewhat more forced and also provides an ending that the film did not earn. What is set up as a relatively dark, science fiction film is then let down in the last 5 minutes by a happy ending that really undermines what came before.

The performances in the film are solid, especially with the low budget of the film. Shane Carruth is able to get good performances out of his female lead, and also provides a good supporting role. Carruth's directing is very good and makes good use of his locations on a limited budget along with providing some very good shots. The score is also well done and provides a good sense of mood when required.

This is just a really hard film to review as the material is dense (as would be expected) and also is more of a conversation piece than review fodder. Even though the film is very uneven, the run time never really dragged and  the movie did move along at a good pace. Some ideas and executions within the script do hold the film back, but as this is an original film, I certainly am happy to see something that doesn't end in a number.

I recommend the film, but also be sure to know what type of film you are in for.


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