A visceral, mind-bending curio, Upstream Color isn’t for the faint of heart... or stomach! But for those brave souls willing to wade in to auteur Shane Carruth’s willfully enigmatic, narratively fractured story, you will be rewarded with a spine-tinglingly unforgettable voyage.
In a film that leeches into you like watercolour on canvas; the less you know about the story going in, the better. But in broad brushstrokes, I can reveal that Carruth co-stars alongside a spellbinding Amy Seimetz, and the pair play two troubled strangers, mysteriously drawn together by forces beyond their control. As Kris, Seimetz’s physical transformation is harrowing at times, at others, thrillingly triumphant. And it’s a testimony to Carruth’s staggering visual and sonic artistry that Kris’ vulnerability reaches straight out from the screen and fuses with your own anima.
Indeed, as a sensory experience, Upstream Color might find a more appreciative audience as an art installation. And yet the comforting cave of the cinema provides a welcomed sight, especially when the lights come back up and you’re grappling with what on earth you’ve just seen!
Buoyed by captivating performances and a palpable spirit, Carruth leads us into deep existential waters, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be gladly swept away.
4 1/2 Stars
Published in the August 2013 issue of Limelight Magazine
Australian release date (limited) 22 August 2013
Always nice to get a pull quote: