Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Upstream Color (2013)
IMDb plot summary: A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.
Directed by Shane Carruth. Starring Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, Andrew Sensenig, and Thiago Martins.
I thought Shane Carruth's previous film, Primer, was fun and interesting but needlessly difficult to figure out. Maybe not needlessly -- those who loved it more than I did seemed to get special enjoyment out of rewatching it again and again to figure out what exactly was going on. They might like this one even more, because this reaches Donnie Darko levels of "What? How on EARTH were we supposed to figure out that was the answer?" But in Donnie Darko, the characters are arresting and the interactions are fun to watch even if you haven't the faintest idea what's happening. Here, we have no special attachment to the characters, since right from the beginning we distrust their experiences and everything they go through is potentially meaningless. I kind of get what he was trying to do with the tone of the movie, but I think the funky mythology he created would have been far more interesting if we'd actually learned about it and not just had it silently hinted at us in a way we couldn't possibly be expected to follow. Not everything is improved if you turn it into a puzzle.
How it entered my Flickchart:
Upstream Color < The 5th Wave
Upstream Color < Top Gun
Upstream Color > Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
Upstream Color > Winter Passing
Upstream Color < The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)
Upstream Color > The Lone Ranger (2013)
Upstream Color > The People vs. Larry Flynt
Upstream Color > The Devil Inside
Upstream Color < Antichrist
Upstream Color > The Forgotten
Upstream Color > Flightplan
Final spot: #2034 out of 2595.