Upstream Colour Film Review (2013)

So I just finished watching the 2013 film entitled Upstream Colour…

This film tells the story of, essentially, a maggot. This maggot contains fluids and properties which cause people who ingest it to become susceptible to control and have heightened emotional connections to people and their surroundings. When a young boy finds this out, he uses it to rob a woman named Kris out of all her money. Then, a scientist extracts the maggot from Kris and puts it into a pig in order to study it. Kris eventually loses her job, and has to sort her life out, but along the way, she meets a man named Jeff, and they fall in love. However, the residual effects of the maggot can still be felt by Kris, and she must find out what is going on and who to track down.

This film is quite a journey. When it started, I was annoyed and hating it, and by the end, I was in love. A purely visual, and sensory tale of the connection between humans and nature.

Great script, great characters and performances (Director Shane Carruth and Amy Seimetz were excellent as Jeff and Kris), amazing editing, brilliant discussion of themes, amazing score (these droning, ambient synthscapes were mezmerising and added such weight to the scenes), etc.

Shane Carruth might be a genius in the making. His talent for telling complex and thought provoking stories through mostly images and sounds was quite apparent in this movie. The dialogue in this movie was minimal and rightly so, as he deftly and brilliantly conveys character development, emotion, and ideas through his beautifully framed shots and unique editing. On that note, the editing in this film is unreal. The quick, odd cuts, and seamless transitions are amazing.

However, I did have some huge issues with it:

1) Carruth shot this film on a digital camera. While it is amazing how professional he made it look while working on the cheap, it did show limitations because the lighting and shot composition looked no better than an ad for the digital camera he shot it on. Both an achievement and a detriment.

2) The guy he got to play the “thief” I.E. the guy who discovered the properties of these maggots when he was a kid, could not act fof shit. All his lines were so fucking monotone and devoid of any sort of charisma or emotion. Annoyed the hell out of me.

Overall, this is something I am definitely going to revist sooner rather than later. An incredibly challenging and thought provoking film. Not for everyone, but film fans will definitely love it. Recommended.

8.5 out of 10

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