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Upstream Color 2013

3.2 out of 5 stars (42) IMDb 6.8/10

A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the lifecycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.

Starring:
Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth
Runtime:
1 hour, 36 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Call me Al TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Jan. 2016
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Similar to Shane Carruth’s previous movie Primer, this film is undoubtedly enigmatic and with a narrative which is far from straightforward will not appeal to everybody (massive understatement). It is a fascinatingly obtuse film which challenges the viewer to interpret its meaning(s) within their own universe. The pacing of the movie is at times unbearably slow and with its beautiful imagery and ethereal soundtrack feels hauntingly other-worldly and despite its somnambulist presentation the film has a pervasive overwhelming melancholic intensity bordering on insanity and dread. Although there is a discernible (eventually) plot involving worms harvested for nefarious purposes many underlying themes are explored, in particular that of the connectedness of the human condition, very reminiscent of the films of Terrence Malick. The movie contains some genuinely unsettling scenes, including one which would not be out of place in a David Cronenberg film. Definitely a film which deserves more than one viewing.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I must say that I always find it a treat when the company who issues a dvd or bluray pays great attention to the packaging, the menus, doesn't annoy me with trailers from movies I don't want to see or worse that I can't skip etc. This release has all this. I saw the poster of this movie on Instagram and got intrigued. Checked out the trailer and was sold. Now after having watched this film I'm (still) not a 100% sure what it's about. But I can say that I really liked it and will watch it again. In contrast to the huge amount of people who watch movies solely for entertainment and do not care about the photography and artdirection of a movie there seem to be a group of people who enjoy watching beautiful things, even if they don't (fully) understand them. This goes for all kinds of art. These people seem to be sick of all the vulgarity that surrounds us ... everywhere and are dying for a dose of beauty. I am surprised but very happy that there is still room and yes money for thes ekind of movies. Take some time to watch something worth while.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A friend described this to me as the most pretentious film ever, but good anyway. That fairly well sums it up. If you want to watch something self-consciously arty without an immediately obvious linear narrative, without any car chases, no loud explosions, no lengthy expositions etc this is just the film.

I enjoyed it at the cinema and then watching it again on DVD enjoyed it even more. It's the sort of film where you pick up on a lot more the second time through.

In the current packaging it's being presented as some sort of thriller. This is a bit misleading. I think the original billing of it being a story about people entangled within the life-cycle of a worm is probably more accurate.

It is very different from Primer. Much less about plot and more about themes. It is also very sensuous - a lot of attention is put into savouring the images and sounds, which is in part what the film is about. There's a lot of Walden in there too. Very much a contemplative film.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
After a long wait following Primer, Auter Shane Carruth finally unleashed this absolute gem, and showed us all that it was worth the wait. More a surreal drama rather than horror or thriller, with echoes of Cronenbergian body horror early on in the film, it's actually quite a simple story following two lost souls, previously the victims of a con involving harvested parasites. It's not necessarily the plot that makes the film so brilliant, it's the elliptical yet hypnotic way in which it is told, perfectly mixing imagery and sound to create an intoxicating concoction, even the way the dialogue is spoken can raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

Definitely a film to be savoured again and again, with things becoming clearer on each subsequent viewing, and one that seems to linger in the mind days after viewing.

The disc itself is lacking in extras, although this maybe a case for the better, leaving you to interpret the films many possible meanings yourself.
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Format: DVD
This is the second film from director/writer/actor/producer/editor/composer Shane Carruth, his first film being Primer which has become a cult classic amongst hardcore sci-fi fans. Both films treat the audience as adults, they give enough detail about the characters and story to allow the viewer to piece everything together without spelling it out. At no point do our characters explain everything to the viewers, they show, not tell.

The film starts with the hunt for worms in the soil of blue orchids, after finding the right worm this is used to 'drug' our main character Kris in a nightclub. The worm places Kris under a 'spell' where 'The Thief' makes her empty her bank accounts and hand over the cash. To keep her busy The Thief makes Kris carry out pointless tasks like writing out pages of Thoreau's "Walden" and making them into paper-chains. Once The Thief has his money Kris is abandoned by the side of a road. Kris finds 'The Sampler' who removes the worm from her body into that of a pigs. From here Kris starts to rebuild her life as she has no money and lost her job, this is where she meets Jeff. We learn these two being drawn together is no accident as they both try and make sense of their actions and break the orchid/worm/pig cycle.

The whole experience is like a lucid dream, created by the shallow depth of field and close-ups in most character shots. The atmosphere is created by layers of sound, the pulsing score is noticeable throughout the film, other sounds we generally class as background noise are brought to the foreground and used to create natural rhythms. Some of the key points in the film are actually highlighted by the lack of sound where you stop drifting and take note.
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