Capsule Review: Upstream Color (2013)

Upstream Color poster

Like his debut, Primer, a rather simple premise becomes a larger fragmented tapestry as Carruth turns every detail of Upstream Color into a heady mash of subjective narrators and relativistic camera angles. This time around the narrative follows Kris, traumatized victim of a brainwashing, as she magnetically connects to another and they slowly, in unfolding their relationship, struggle their way back to the kidnapper’s pig farm, a space that operates both literally and metaphorically and either way the physics work out. Those concrete details do a disservice to the unbalanced, psychedelic experience of actually watching the montaged sensoratorium that this film is.

It’s been years since Primer, as he’s tried to get A Topiary together and, eventually, managed to pull things together to release Upstream Color. His high concept science fiction phantasmagoria aren’t easy rides for audiences emotionally or intellectually, and as such he may be doomed to Kubrick or Malick levels of pacing between his release.

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