Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Upstream Color

To say that no movie released this year will be weirder than "Upstream Color" is an understatement. It's also a mesmerizing mind-fuck, at least while it's happening.
Director Shane Carruth ("Primer") abjures recitations of plot, and it's a good thing, because this one's just about impossible to describe. Suffice to say, it involves the ingestion of grubworms, ice water ladled out of a pitcher and consumed like soup, hysterical laughter at a picture of a deer on a wall, white and yellow and blue orchids, surgery connecting human innards with pig entrails, the obsessive collection of Foley sounds, two lovers with matching tattoos they don't see, a woman forced to withdraw four and five and three thousand dollars at a time from her bank account, the compulsive intonation of Walden while retrieving stones from the bottom of a pool - and a few dozen other oblique, hallucinatory motifs.

I've never seen anything like "Upstream Color," but it does become a bit redundant - it feels longer than its 96 minutes - and, a few days later, I've forgotten it almost as completely as the mind-control victim, Kris (Amy Seimetz), herself. It lacks emotional resonance now, and feels like an exercise in selective dissemination of information by the puzzlemaster, Carruth. Still, he's to be commended for trying to take cinema somewhere new. He's definitely one to watch.

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