Upstream Color


Jul 29, 2010
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Couldn't find a thread on this amazing movie from Shane Carruth, the writer/director of 2004's Primer. I'd say it's the movie of the year, and if you thought Primer was a mind-bender, wait until you see this masterpiece. The trailer doesn't do it justice - it is literally a modern sci-fi experience that trumps Primer in every way in its complexity and ideas. I'd even compare it to anything Nolan has done, as it's definitely in the Inception/Memento/Prestige family.

After the Blu-Ray/DVD hits this coming Tuesday (May 7), I can't wait for more people to discover it and talk about it. It's going to be "one of those movies," and for those who have already seen it, I'd love to discuss it here! It truly blew me away and I can't stop thinking about it. I was lucky enough to see a special screening of it at my local art museum, and the collective look of the audience's faces, combined with utter silence and awe, was something I've experienced rarely in my movie-going life.

Was anyone else lucky enough to see this amazing film?



Original score by Shane Carruth
Watching this tonite. Hope I understand it. Still don't completely understand PRIMER but I love it still.
Just make sure you pause it if you have to pee. Otherwise you're screwed. :oldrazz:

But really, it's not that complicated at all. It's actually a very simple, straightforward story. The way it's told, however, is very unique and makes it seem more complex than it really is. I would honestly describe it as a low-budget Inception, or anything in that sub-sub-genre of "mind-benders."

I wouldn't be surprised, however, if the Internet claws after it like rabid dogs and labels it "pretentious" or "hipster" or "artsy." I couldn't care less; it's just a damn good movie, period.

The nice thing to discover is that you can clearly see that Shane Carruth has a distinctive style, and that style has continued from Primer. Primer was definitely not a one-time fluke (I can't believe that was released 9 years ago already). The leap from Primer to Upstream Color is definitely reminiscent of going from Following to Memento - which leads me to believe that Carruth might be a huge name 10-15 years from now, if not sooner than that.
I need to watch this again. I know its filmed well and has an amazing score for sure. I love films like this where you have to piece some stuff together. Happy I got the bluray.I saw this and Fast and the Furious 6 on the same day. You can't get much different than that.
I could be wrong but I don't think Shane Carruth is interested in making big films.
I need to watch this again. I know its filmed well and has an amazing score for sure. I love films like this where you have to piece some stuff together. Happy I got the bluray.I saw this and Fast and the Furious 6 on the same day. You can't get much different than that.
I could be wrong but I don't think Shane Carruth is interested in making big films.

They tried to push him into doing something big, like "his Batman" (meaning, his own take on a big franchise), but he declined. David Fincher was going to produce A Topiary, a script Carruth wrote that never got off the ground. That was going to be a huge film in scope and concept, but was met with confusion by whichever studio hired him. The script was 240+ pages long, which would've equaled a 4-hour movie.

Carruth was a story "consultant" on Rian Johnson's Looper.
I hope more people on this forum see this. It needs a discussion. None of my friends like this type of film, so I have no one to discuss with.
After a second viewing I've come to the conclusion that this film is great. Not for everyone though. I love when a director has a great debut and then even surpasses it with the 2nd effort.
I personally think it surpasses Primer in every aspect. It's just a beautifully shot, well written movie.

And I totally agree, it's not for everyone. But I'm still shocked that it's not getting more attention. I give it maybe 5 years, and this film will have been seen by many people.
Finally caught this film. It is now available on Netflix Instant, making it pretty much require viewing.

Damn is this movie well put together. While most of the film is told entirely through imagery, it is interesting how much of the film is quite clear, how much of what Carruth mentions in interviews (which I read after) is actually present and clear in the film itself.

Everything about the life cycle these characters are caught up in is fascinating.
Just watched it. Beautiful and doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I need to watch it again. Be warned: it's a slow burn. It's as indie art house as you can get. It's ambitious and weird and I love it for that.

Also, the cameras used are low end digital cameras that you can buy at any Best Buy!
Ugh, I hated Primer so I'm apprehensive about this. A part of me wants to watch it, but another part of me doesn't want to be bored for an hour and a half. And Primer was around 70 minutes and that felt like hours.
I'll see it tonight, it's been in my Netflix queue for about a week.
I just watched this with my best friend, and he had the strangest, most hilarious reaction to it. He almost seemed intimidated by it, then he had a look of rejection to it, then it morphed into this curious wonder, then we both started laughing and started talking about it for 15 minutes. :funny:

It was hilarious - I saw like a wide variety of emotional stages on his face within five minutes:

*shrugs* - "I don't know. Whatever man."
*Look of "What pretentious little art-house shlock."
"If they had explained the science behind it, I would've liked it more."
"Eh, what was the point of (blah blah blah)."
"Oh, okay. I see."
"So, wait a minute. Why did..."
"Hmm, I'll have to see it again."

This is definitely one of those movies, that, if you're the only person you know who is into this type of thing, don't show it to other people. You sort of have to keep it to yourself. Like, if I showed this to any other friends, they'd probably tear it apart and I'd reach the point where I was questioning why they're my friends. (Not really, but at the same time - really.) :oldrazz: It sucks. I don't know enough people who share my tastes.
I sort of view this movie in the same way I view the comedian Reggie Watts (probably the only correlation between these two things that will ever occur on the planet). They're both really artsy, but not necessarily high-concept, but at the same time, it is very much high-concept. You almost don't know how to react. It's out of your hands, and you're either going to go along for the ride and see where the bus takes you, or you're going to jump off at the next stop. It's so out there, so unconventional, you really have no way of predicting or anticipating what will happen a minute from now.

A lot of people hate that. They want to know exactly what will happen. They want to be comfortable and say, "The good guy wins in the end, gets the girl, etc." Superman isn't really going to die, Batman isn't really going to die... They'll win. We know this, whether we're watching a suspenseful scene or not. We need to have an A-to-B-to-C story, in romantic comedies, action movies, and so on. Upstream Color (and Reggie Watts - again, why the hell am I connecting these two?) is wildly un-like that, and it's off-putting.

And just because it's "Art", I don't think that it automatically gets a free pass where it can't be judged as good or bad. It should be judged, absolutely - maybe more so than anything else. I watched a few interviews with Shane Carruth where he basically said, "This isn't a movie for most people. A lot of people will hate it" (I'm paraphrasing). But to me, if it's made for maybe 5 people out of 100, those 5 people are pretty happy campers right now.

Eli Roth has said the same thing about Cabin Fever. Group A loves it, Group B hates it. There is debate as to whether it's a classic movie or a piece of crap. The point is, there is debate. It's being argued. That's probably all they're going for anyway. They're artists. The painting either catches your eye or you're walking down the hall to check out the next painting. You're either going to shrug or you're going to be affected by one of those paintings.

I think this is where big Hollywood movies miss the mark: they're trying to make movies that will be universally loved by everyone in the world. That's a terrible idea, in my opinion. You can't open an art museum with the intention of having every soul who walks through the door say, "I love everything in this building." It's impossible. You need to hate some of it. It's healthy.
I only saw Primer once. I admit I didn't completely follow it. Maybe if I had seen it a couple of more times.

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