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Upstream Color

August 24, 2013


Plot:   “A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.”

Writer, director, & lead actor of Upstream Color is Shane Carruth. For those unfamiliar with Carruth, you may have also missed his 2004 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winning drama, Primer. Primer was made with a budget of less than $10k! To this day, Primer is still my favorite low budget film. It’s a film that plays out like a puzzle you can’t wait to solve. So you watch it again, & then maybe a 3rd time. Carruth’s newest film Upstream Color plays out the same way.

I watched it in theater with a couple of friends & I was mind blown…. Scanners-style. My buddies & I walked out of the theater trying to piece together the film. I never quite pieced it all together after that 1st watch. Images from the film stuck with me for days, & then for weeks. Soon after I noticed it was already streaming on Netflix. I decided to watch it again. After thinking about the film (on many occasions) & after a second viewing, I finally understand the message Carruth was making with his film. (at least I think I do)

Upstream Color plays with the cinematic beauty of Tree of Life & with the puzzling nature of Primer or a David Lynch film. Upstream Color is more obvious with symbolism than Primer but is just as captivating. If you have a Netflix streaming subscription, add this to your queue. Then watch it. Then watch it again. Solve the beautiful & emotional puzzle Carruth has created.


hpstrfls rating-8.4

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