Upstream Color – a review of sorts

Many years ago I had Primer recommended to me, which turned out to be an amazing and strange indie time travel film by Shane Carruth. I was browsing Netflix this weekend as I was home, bored & needed a break from bingeing on Justified (OLYPHANT) & saw Upstream Color* which I was curious about and clicked through to. When I saw Shane Carruth’s name attached as writer/director, I was in. (Well, I double checked the rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and then I was in. I can’t make a movie decision on my own anymore.)

Do not expect to understand everything when the end credits roll. Be pulled along with this film as it rolls out, don’t search for a clear meaning. It’s completely ethereal and metaphorical, largely experimental, and it looks lush & beautiful to wrap up the whole package. As I was watching, I was pretty lost – but I went with it, because I had some of that feeling when i’d watched Primer. Rather, I got a sense of things. How cruel the world can be, how you can struggle to find meaning, how it’s hard to trust people and make connections, what it means to work something out when you have nothing to go on.

The lead characters, Kris & Jeff, are drawn to each other in a way they don’t understand. They try to negotiate their feelings, their relationship, and also find where they stand in their lives – but they’re not the core focus of the movie like a regular romantic drama. It’s strange, but also nice – the movie’s about so much more than them, but needs them to ultimately show what it’s getting at. You might not understand what it’s getting at 100% – I certainly didn’t – but if you’re game to dive into some rich experimental cinema then it’s worth a shot! And while you’re at it, check out Primer too.

* Man, it’s hard to not type colour.

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