Plot: 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. Source: IMDb.
I remember starting The Tree of Life and dropping it after the first fifteen minutes since Terrence Malik’s style, cinematographically gorgeous as it was, bored me to death. A few months later I watched his The New World, which I adored, and now, when watching Upstream Color, I could have sworn it was his film. The visual style and the pacing are appallingly similar. I’d say Malik was, at least, Shane Carruth’s inspiration.
I love how Alex (AND SO IT BEGINS) put it: Upstream Color is a film you don’t observe. You experience it. It’s not a story in a traditional sense, but it’s not pretty and pointless sequences of visual gorgeousness – it’s a continuous flow, smooth and subtle and easy to admire. Much harder to grasp or adore, though. When people start talking, it doesn’t feel awkward, only organic, which is an accomplishment in itself.
The beginning was easily the best part of the film but also the most terrifying part. What happens to Kris is horrible, cruel, and unjust and the sad, wrecked tone this creates carries on until the end of the film. When it all starts coming together, the film loses something in the process.
Upstream Color is a sure way to leave a person perplexed and amazed. I can imagine a vast amount of emotions that can come from this film: disgust, sadness, anger, breathlessness, maybe even love. It is undoubtedly a unique experience and as the film concluded, all I could think was “huh.” Everything else came later – this review, in example, took a week to write. It’s interesting to feel completely drained inside and bubbling with amazement at the same time, I can tell you that. If you yet haven’t seen Upstream Color, be sure to experience it, it is definitely worth your time.