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Upstream Color (2013)

 -  Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi  -  30 August 2013 (UK)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 16,234 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 112 user | 248 critic | 27 from Metacritic.com

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.

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Title: Upstream Color (2013)

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Drama

Set in the modern day on shipping routes, with people who build routes to trade

Director: Shane Carruth
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Thief
Kathy Carruth ...
Orchid Mother
Meredith Burke ...
Orchid Daughter
Andreon Watson ...
Peter
Ashton Miramontes ...
Lucas
...
Monty
...
...
Wife
...
OBGYN
...
MRI Tech
...
Woman in Club
Lynn Blackburn ...
HR Manager
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Storyline

Kris is attacked one night, and hypnotized, using a grub with hypnotic properties, administered by a thief. She follows the thief's instructions to give him everything, even taking out loans. After the worms are extracted, she wakes up to find her life ruined. She's lost her job, her finances are destroyed. Years later, she meets Jeff whom she may have a lot in common with. Written by SnoopyStyle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 August 2013 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Feltörő színek  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$50,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$28,649 (USA) (5 April 2013)

Gross:

$415,067 (USA) (17 May 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film that Kris is editing at the beginning of the movie is A Topiary, the film that Shane Carruth had begun production on before deciding to film Upstream Color instead. See more »

Goofs

(at around 32 mins) When Jeff and Kris are in the coffee shop and Kris is digging in her case, there is a menu standing on the table. When the shot shows both, there is no menu standing on the table. See more »

Quotes

Thief: There are two approaching armies: hunger and fatigue, but a great wall keeps them at bay. The wall extends to the sky and will stay up until I say otherwise.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tedious, pretentious and utterly exhausting
14 April 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Upstream Color begins as a puzzling but reasonably coherent movie; much of the beginning is a disturbing and unpleasant but somewhat interesting sequence in which a woman is kidnapped and kind of hypnotized. While some of it doesn't make much sense, I could think of explanations for why things happen they way they do, and the odd, distanced, no-affect acting is appropriate to what is going on.

Unfortunately distanced characters and no-affect speaking are the rule even after that scene, and puzzling goes to flat out senseless as the movie progresses.

The movie is very much a pretentious art film in which the viewer is supposed to do the work of filling in the gaps of the movie. It is full of strange transitions, inter-cutting between scenes that seem to have nothing to do with one another or between different versions of the same thing. The movie is for people who feel things like story and character development are simple catering to the masses. It is the sort of movie that, if you hate it, you think the people who like it may just be pretending to like it to seem cool, because it is so hard to imagine anyone could genuinely enjoy this. It is a movie that resolutely makes less and less sense as it goes along, so while early on I still thought the elements might somehow be at least vaguely tied together, by the end it appeared that the director himself probably didn't even know how it all connected.

This is not to say there are no interesting ideas in the film, because there are a couple. In fact, you could take parts of this movie and make something vaguely interesting out of them. But this movie fails to use its ideas to good effect. It also never connects you to its characters, leaving you alienated and alone in a confused landscape.

While the movie looks like a puzzle to be solved, I think it is like the famous riddle from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "Why is a raven like a writing desk," in which when she admits she cannot solve it she is told there is no answer. There is no answer to this movie either, although someone may eventually cobble one together, in the same way that, years later, someone answered the Raven riddle (because Poe wrote on both).

The frustrating thing is, I can't stop mulling over what it means, and yes, I am thinking of connections and possibilities. But these connections do not themselves connect. You can make some of this make sense, at least in terms of allegory, but there are always loose ends, like leftover screws in Ikea furniture. And while fans of this movie will watch it over and over, looking for clues, I would never put myself through this again, because the movie is quite boring and just plain tiring to sit through.

In looking at reviews, trying to figure out why critics love this movie, I found comments that it was brilliantly and beautifully filmed. I don't understand that reaction. From the first moment I thought it was a flat- looking, low budget movie. Competently filmed within its limitations, certainly, but that's about it.

I have a friend who will only watch indie films, and after she rejected my first three choices, we settled on this. She soon apologized for rejecting my choices (she kept complaining and apologizing, in fact, until someone in the theater told her to shut up) and promised that next time I could choose the movie.


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