Upstream Color Review

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Directors that make you re-evaluate your position on a film after you watch it are far and few between in the cinematic landscape today, only a select few come to mind, such talents as Paul T. Anderson or Spike Jonze might come to mind, but sadly, under the radar is Shane Carruth and the intellectual format the man uses when it comes to filmmaking. Primer is one of the best sci-fi films of the 21st century and I truly believe Carruth was able to up the ante with his follow up, Upstream Color, a true work of art mixed with intellect and audacity. Upstream Color takes on the cyclical nature of life and examines the persona of a broken individuals, traversing the emotional depths in the human mind in the most cryptic way imaginable that will leave you thinking and going back to Upstream Color time and time again. Though apart from being a sci-fi masterpiece of the modern age, Upstream Color is able to explore so much within the boundaries of its genre, whether this is a refreshing take on hypnosis, the emotional struggle of a damaged individual, paranoia, or the way things simply repeat themselves time and time again with us not really even noticing it sometimes. Initially, after concluding my viewing of Upstream Color I might have placed it somewhere in the high 70’s, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it, Upstream Color seemed to invade any thought I had, I looked up explanation videos and  more about information about it, and I now officially proclaim Upstream Color to be a poignant look at trauma that uses the sci-fi genre as a mysterious background in which our story finds itself. That being said, Shane Carruth is able to channel the same emotional gut-punch you might get while viewing Solaris in his low-budget project about his observations on the cyclical nature of life and how people can ultimately alter the direction in which they’re headed. All I can do is applaud Carruth for making such an original work of true science-fiction which took some bold direction to get done and wait for whenever A Topiary or The Modern Ocean ever get made. Another integral part of this film is its hypnotic score composed of pure beauty itself, Carruth’s stunning visuals, and his ability to convey a story through cuts and editing that feel like the greatness of Eisenstein in the today’s world. I did feel the acting to not always be at its best, but upon further reflection I felt this truly conveyed the state in which the characters found themselves in the film and  how that related to the viewer itself, combining the feelings of confusion, sadness, and determination with each gaze on an actor’s face. That being said, not being able to fully grasp a film without re-viewing does take away something and leaves you with a sense of incompletion and dissatisfaction, which is probably my only problem with Upstream Color. Upstream Color is truly a cinematic gem, a masterpiece of modern science-fiction with enough of an emotional punch that will help it transcend the boundaries of the  genre to reach and make it so much more than another low-budget indie sci-fi film and instead transform into this work of art that reflects  the cycle of life and how we one can interfere in changing the course we were headed and find that solution you so desperately need. Upstream Color is a fantastic film, a true science-fiction masterpiece, living art with bold direction, great camerawork, and a refreshing take on the genre we will probably be missing out on until Carruth releases his  next film, with that said I must give Upstream Color a 92 out of 100

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