Upstream Color

upstream01_700It’s not every day you get to puzzle out a serious experiment in cinematic narrative, so here’s your chance. Crimes are committed using some sort of telepathising mind-worm and two victims get together to solve, revenge and repair what was done to them. There’s more to it than that but it’s not immediately apparent what. It’s a sci-fi concept that eschews exposition and, for much of its length, dialogue.

Figuring out what’s going on is itself a theme of the story, and it’s what the characters are doing too, so it is metafictional in that way. And it’s less likely this fact than the repeated use of the same ambient soundtrack material (produced by director Shane Carruth who also shoots the parts he’s not acting in) that lends the film a soporific quality. Upstream Color intrigues, but to a greater degree than it entertains.

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