Critic Reviews

81

Metascore

Based on 27 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
If you've ever sat at your desk wondering whether there's more to life, or been kept awake by an insidious hum in the darkness, this will speak to your soul - even as its enveloping, disturbing, uplifting story sends your mind reeling with giddy possibilities.
90
It's all a neat trick. Or exercise. Or brain-teaser. Whatever you want to call it, Upstream Color is like nothing you've ever seen before. But once you have seen it, once isn't going to be enough
88
Upstream Color is lush, rhythmic, and deeply sensual, a film of exceptional beauty.
88
A romance, a thriller, and a science-fiction drama, Upstream Color tantalizes viewers with an open-ended narrative about overcoming personal loss.
88
Henry David Thoreau plays an enigmatic role in Shane Carruth's hypnotic thriller - an oxymoronic term to describe a film that is truly sui generis.
88
Dense, richly textured, and emotionally fraught - uplifting and devastating in equal parts - Shane Carruth's masterful sophomore effort is an abstract, elusive, but emotionally engaging love story that's more tone poem than drama.
80
Upstream Colors certainly is something to see if you're into brilliant technique, expressive editing, oblique storytelling, obscuritanist speculative fiction or discovering a significant new actress.
80
Carruth creates a wholly compelling world. And despite my irritation with his deliberate obscurity, my immediate desire when it ended was to stay in my seat and watch it all the way through again.
80
How to sum up? You have to make synapse-spark connections, interpret events to your own satisfaction, pick up visual cues (a long stretch of the film is dialogue-free) and be happy with not knowing all the answers (you know, like in life - but not in most motion pictures). A perfectly judged, strikingly beautiful film, but also a lunatic enterprise which invites - even welcomes - befuddlement as much as wonder. A true original.
75
Shane Carruth's Upstream Color is a deliberate exercise in swooning obscurity. You either go with its considerable sensory powers or you scratch a groove on your head.
63
This enigma-delivery system from a sharp mind has enthralling moments but becomes a bit enervating in its self-seriousness. By the end, the whole thing feels more academic than mind-bending.
60
Upstream Color is weird, but it's worth the time.

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