Tag Archives: Tree of Life

Upstream Color (2013)

17 May

Upstream Color isn’t simply a film which you go and see, but rather a film which one experiences.  And it was easily the most surreal, disturbing, emotional and provocative film experience I have had all year.  Shane Carruth, the mastermind behind the mind-melting 2004 Sundance hit Primer, wrote and directed this film, and he brings the same sense of mystery, ambiguity and cinematic exploration.

The film starts with a montage of sorts, displaying several boys collecting some sort of earthworms. We then skip around from a woman named Kris, a man named Jeff, a farmhouse with pigs, and a mysterious old man who enjoys recording different sounds.  We know something connects these characters, but we don’t really know what or how.  Upstream Color is a film that asks the audience questions that have no solid answers, thereby forcing us to come up with our own.
It’s also a film which tells its story through a visual language rather than a spoken one, following in the footsteps of films like The Tree of Life or 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Even if what we are seeing is senseless and bizarre, the cinematography is always beautiful, and the sounds and music of the film add to its unique and enchanting appeal. It is a real challenging film, both intellectually and emotionally, but never a dull one.

If you are someone who needs things explained and a concrete resolution to arrive by the time the credits roll  – this film will bore you to tears.  But if you want something different and can accept critical thinking, mystery, and open endings as an essential part of cinema, then I highly recommend Upstream Color.   I loved it.

9/10 stars

Similar to: The Tree of Life, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Antichrist