Movie Review: Upstream Color (2013)

Posted: July 13, 2013 in Drama

upstream color

Chris (Amy Seimetz) is hypnotized by a man known as The Sampler (Andrew Sensenig).  The Sampler is a farmer, who raises pigs and grows flowers.  Inexplicably sometime after he kidnaps her, the Sampler releases Amy, and she goes on with her life. She meets Jeff, (Shane Carruth) and they fall in love.  Jeff has had a rocky road too, he’s getting divorced, he used to be a financial planner, but now he’s working off the books, and both Jeff and Chris suffer lapses of memory.  They argue about who’s memories they are recalling, his or hers.  They are both damaged people.  Can they move on or must Chris and Jeff find the Sampler to repair the broken shards of their lives?

I have three words for this movie, and those are WTF?  I don’t know who Shane Carruth is, but if you’re going to write, direct and star in your own movie, you had better be Orson Wells, or chances are the movie is going to be awful.  Unlike, Citizen Kane which went after the rich and powerful William Randolph Hearst with skill and panache, Upstream Color has no skill, panache or story to speak of, there are almost no worlds to hear for the first 20 minutes of the movie.  There were lots of images, pigs and tapeworms and flowers, Shane Carruth comes off as a low rent Fellini, except Fellini’s imagery makes sense. There’s been a trend at Sundance lately and that is to marry sci-fi themed movies with arthouse flicks, that is usually more like a shotgun wedding, the results usually end badly.  Take Shelter, Another Earth, and now Upstream Color, are all more trouble then they’re worth.  It’s inconceivable that someone could sit through this movie, with its leaden pace, and non-linear storytelling and actually enjoy it.  This movie screams pretentious from the start, a suspense movie that quotes Thoreau’s Walden Pond is trying too hard to be intellectual.  What passes for dialogue is just a series of non-sequiturs. It’s a revenge flick gussied up in pretty clothes, well I’m here to tell all of you the emperor has no clothes. The pacing is slow, the writing is non-existent, and the movie makes the audience feel idiotic for not knowing what the hell is going on.  Upstream Color is like Tree of Life, all style, no substance. This is torture plain and simple.

Upstream Color, off the deep end.

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