It has been quite awhile since I've experienced a film which challenged me the way Shane Carruth's Upstream Color has. The film centers around Kris and Jeff, two individuals who feel drawn together for reasons they can't seem to understand. Their memories and identity are fractured, with them trying to assemble the fragments of their lives. Shane Carruth's Upstream Color is a film that really doesn't require much of a narrative description but from what I've gathered these individuals have been infected by some sort of powerful parasite. This is a film that does not spell anything out for the viewer, placing them directly into the same situation as its characters - clueless and searching for answers. Carruth isn't interested in explaining the film in one big moment, instead asking the viewer to stick with it, laying small, gradual hints which lead to comprehension. Thematically the film is a bit hard to define but for me it seemed to touch on issues of Identity and Memory. For most of the film these two characters have a very fragmented perception of both of these attributes, which is both nightmarish and poignant in showing our need for connection and hope. Upstream Color uses imagery and sound design to create this atmosphere that seems intent on hypnotizing the viewer. It feels like a dream, with much of what is shown feeling like fractured memories. While Upstream Color is a fascinating and unique experience it isn't without a few minor faults. For starters, I found some of the acting to be a little too mechanical for my taste, with Shane Carruth once again reminding me of his limited acting ability. Honestly this isn't a huge deal considering the type of film this is but it is still worth mentioning. The more pressing criticism I have revolves around the monotonous atmosphere which the film creates. One could certainly make an argument that this aids in the hypnotic effect of the film but I personally found the films sombre synthetic score to become a little too overbearing and repetitive at times. Shane Carruth's Upstream Color is an ambitious and unique experience that should be seen by fans of unconventional narrative filmmaking.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.