by: Uel Ceballos
Shane Carruth has deeply engrossed me to the ambit of his film Upstream Color as its baffling twist captivated me right from the very start. Most often than not, I find experimental films to be manipulative in its abstract domination, injecting the cunning style of film to flummox the viewers but with a little success to stir them both mentally and emotionally. However, Upstream Color is far way different. It is experimental in a perplexing way of film art but at the same time comprehensive of all the entrancing emotions that would hold the viewers’ interest from start to finish. Upstream Color is visually stunning, mind challenging and emotionally satisfying – it will get you fully occupied with its involved narrative.
Upstream Color is the life’s story of two individuals whose paths are intertwined with the same mishap. Jeff and Kris are both victims of the parasites that are engendered by the man who is casted in the film as “The Sampler”. Another victimizer is involved, “The Thief” who is shown in the beginning of the movie drugging Kris to hypnotize her and steal her fortunes. The film has incorporated the parasitic creatures as the drugging element that would draw the main characters together in a certain sort of odd familiarity. The use of pigs in the film wherein the “Sampler” has performed operations to connect the identity of the person to his or her new pig counterpart is also a bewildering spectacle. Shane Carruth has added a precious treasure to the list of remarkable Science Fiction films, of which who knows may actually happen somewhere in the future. Okay you may don’t want to imagine it anyway, having and feeling the roundworms visibly crawling beneath your skins then a stranger would perform an operation on you and you’ll just find yourself sharing your individuality with a pig.
This may sound disgusting to you, but Upstream Color is a must-see movie that demonstrated science being weaved to the dramatic existence of two people. I can’t stand the sight of all crawling creatures especially the like of nematodes and its other relatives. I’m having goose bumps in seeing a bunch of them than in seeing a certified ghastly horror film. But then I got hold of its relevance to the film’s science element and braved their appearances on the movie and I never regret that I did. If I stopped from there I wouldn’t be able to see the full of the movie wherein a different kind of love story is eventually developed between the victims, Jeff and Kris.
Not everybody’s sort of love story, but this is definitely one of the sweetest and most moving depictions of love that I have ever seen. The parasites encounter has placed Jeff and Kris on such wreckage wherein they end up grasping endlessly for the missing fragments of their identity. But on such ruins they have found one another, and with their mental condition failing them due to unknown traumatic and confusing experiences from their past, they have come to a relationship tied strongly by bond of true love. This bond is not supported by any rational ideas as they have seemed to adrift forever in the mystery of their past, but they face things together despite the uncertainties, clutching mainly to their sense of feeling because that's the most trustworthy instinct that they got. Jeff and Kris live their lives with the undetermined past haunting and torturing them, they force their way to move forward hoping against hope that they soon unlock the elusive secrecy before they get completely estranged from their sanity.
A beautiful American experimental film that would make you wish to see more of Shane Carruth's films and his incorporation of science and abstract film style.