Upstream Color (2013)

Movie Title: Upstream Color

Year Released: 2013

Rated: Not Rated

Runtime: 1h 36min

Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi

Director: Shane Carruth

Writer: Shane Carruth

Starring: Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, Andrew Sensenig, Thiago Martins, Kathy Carruth, Meredith Burke, Andreon Watson, Ashton Miramontes, Myles McGee, Frank Mosley, Carolyn King, Kerry McCormick, Marco Antonio Rodriguez,

Review: Kris (Amy Seimetz) is drugged by a thief with a parasite that has a strong hypnotic susceptibility over its host so that the crafty criminal can liquidate all of her assets. Once the parasite has been removed from Kris it is placed into the body of a young pig. Soon Kris tries to put her life back together and meets Jeff (Shane Carruth). Together these lost souls try to uncover what happened to Kris, who's responsible, and what is causing her experience life in such an unsettling way. So sit back and feast your eyes on the Upstream Color.

My description of the plot, which you have just read, sounds a bit weird, wouldn't you say? And that just scratches the surface of what happens in this very well made indie sci-fi drama. Upstream Color it not your typical movie. I mean it has characters and a story to tell, but it doesn't play the way your conventional movie does. It's very arty, and indie movie, which could turn off some viewers that might see it all as pretentious, but I was mesmerized for the entire running time trying to figure out what was going on and where the story was leading to next.

This is a movie about so many concepts that almost defy description. It's about trust, connection, fear, relationships, love, observing the world, finding peace - and a bunch of other things. Man, am I rambling on!

Amy Seimetz is amazing as Kris. She is so vulnerable, scared, confused, and shaken by her "identity theft" situation that she pretty much has to start her life over from scratch. She's not trusting of others and isn't quite sure if she can trust herself. It almost seems like she's recovering from a drug addiction or she's has serious mental problems, but there's something much more complicated going on. It's an amazing performance.

The plot is kind of broken into three segments that deal with the cycle of life, which is the best way I can describe it; Each part is unique in style and substance. Filmmaker Shane Carruth really keeps you on your toes with the editing and pace of the film. He makes you pay close attention to little details like set dressing, lighting, and audio cues. All of these elements help the audience to get drawn into the story and its characters even though we might not quite have a full understanding of what they might be experiencing. When you see it you'll know what I mean.

I know my review isn't doing this movie any justice. It's a unique film experience that I was happy to have seen. A lot of it I don't quite understand, but I was entertained and it made me think about how films can really standout for being original. A rare creation like this hopefully gives future filmmaker's the incentive to make their own thing and churn out another remake or sequel. Individuality is something to strive for, and Upstream Color does that, and then some. Check it out! It's a hypnotic little experiment that might just surprise you and get you broaden your movie-going horizons.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: The film that Kris is editing at the beginning of the movie is A Topiary, the film that Shane Carruth had begun production on before deciding to film Upstream Color instead.


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