Upstream Color is Cryptic, Dreamlike Art
- Friday, May 03, 2013
Plot holes, therefore, are not accidental by-products; they are intentional and thought-through. What may seem (and even be) impenetrable actually has a clarity that Carruth has fully worked out – but kept from us.
What the audience experiences, then, are mostly sequential scenes without context that still feel very connected somehow, thanks to Carruth's direction. While he may keep narrative context a mystery, there is a tonal, emotional, and psychological through-line that is very clear. The result is undeniably hypnotic. It's literally like watching a dream: we have almost no idea what just happened, but we understand it. We're also affected by it, at times viscerally so, and moved.
It's exciting to think that we may very well be watching a director develop a yet-to-be-named cinematic style, one that someday will be defined with some illuminating title ("Dream Cinema," perhaps?). Until then, it’ll be both fun and rewarding to watch that language evolve.
- Drugs/Alcohol Content: Wine consumed with a meal. Drug-induced medical experiments.
- Language/Profanity: The s-word is used once.
- Sexual Content/Nudity: A couple instances of passionate kissing. Another of a couple lying in bed together, under the covers, kissing intimately.
- Violence/Other: A woman is kidnapped and drugged, experimented on (though not graphically). A worm/maggot is injected into a person; it squirms underneath the person’s skin. A woman stabs herself in the leg with a big kitchen knife. A medical incision is made into a pig, which is being experimented on. Several moments create a sense of fear, both immediate and psychological.
Publication date: May 3, 2013
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