Dense, maddening, oblique but oh so beautiful, Shane Carruth’s long-awaited follow-up to the similarly bizarre Primer will certainly leave his audience thinking. More than likely, they’ll be thinking completely different things. This is its brilliance.
For a science fiction picture with grand allusions to fate, faith, freewill and the very fabric of existence, Upstream Colour is a contradictorily small-scale, intimate story. Amy Seimetz plays Kris, who’s forced to ingest an engineered, hallucinogenic worm by a mysterious man (Martins), then tricked into emptying her bank account for him after a brief period of captivity and conditioning. After her release and the worm’s removal, she meets and begins an affair with Jeff (Carruth), who’s suggested to have suffered the same ordeal.
Though parallels with Cronenberg, Lynch and Malick are apparent, Carruth’s film is a brazen original. Defiantly refusing to offer anything so tawdry as coherent narrative or answers to the many riddles posited, this writer-director-composer-star instead smartly creates a work as impenetrable as its themes. Gorgeous, transcendent and affecting, just watch it and argue the toss later.