• Studio: erbp
  • Release Date: Apr 5, 2013
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 90 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 67 out of 90
  2. Negative: 21 out of 90

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  1. Apr 10, 2013
    The achievements of a filmmaker should not be measured by the amount of headscratching he is able to generate among his viewers, and yet this seems to be the criterium according to which most critics (with the laudably honest exception of Stephanie Zacharek) are willing to grant Carruth the benefit of the doubt. Upstream Color is, for all its putative ambition, shallowly developed, indiscriminately written, portentously paced, cast ridiculously and acted woefully. You won't spend two more irksome hours in front of a screen, small or large, anytime soon. Expand
  2. Apr 14, 2013
    Sometimes I think the less movie critics understand a movie the higher their ratings will be.
    This movie just proves my point. There is nothing to understand yet the ratings are through the roof.
    If I had to measure a level of confusion in a movie I would give this movie 10 out of 10 as well. But I do not think getting confused should be the reason why people go to movies. Artsy, maybe.
    Getting better near the end? Too bad, not everybody will stay that long watching God knows what… Expand
  3. May 15, 2013
    I would say this is the worst film i've seen this year, except that it isn't really a film at all, at least not by the usual definition. There is no real plot, close to zero acting on display, and is almost as interesting as watching paint dry. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to collect a bunch of film clips of the same people, sometimes doing familiar things, and at other times doing strange things that make no sense and string them together in a random array such that any hope of an audience actually following something akin to a story would be impossible? Yeah, me neither. Do yourself a favor, skip this one. Expand
  4. May 9, 2013
    Upstream Color is a hostile film, one that presents you with puzzling events and unsettling imagery and seemingly hopes that curiosity will keep you watching. The problem is that, in my opinion, it really doesn't do much to build that curiosity in the first place. The viewer literally gets about five minutes to get to know Kris before she gets abducted, which really isn't enough to establish any sort of identification or compassion. Add to that annoying five-second cuts and that terrible, terrible synopsis and you get the feeling that Carruth is flashing the troll face when you're not looking. Perhaps critics do get the joke, but I certainly don't. Expand
  5. Jun 9, 2013
    A dull non-narrative film that attempts to lure you into hidden depths which are shallow and unsatisfying. Plot threads are presented and abandoned. The characters are undeveloped, unsympathetic victims of a situation that neither they nor the audience understand.

    The movie keeps suggesting at some sort of resolution it never, ever delivers. An excellent film for philosophy majors
    who want to pontificate about cinema, and a terrible bore for everyone else. I can get behind non-narrative film-making and intricate plots, but this is only the former hinting at and avoiding the latter. Expand
  6. Jun 15, 2013
    Shane Carruth's second film "Upstream Color" is just as obtuse and bewildering as "Primer". This guy is never going mainstream with this style; when most people including me have to spend nearly as much time as the film in Reddit (or Slate or io9) trying to understand it then that's a failed film style. It's as if he films a story that makes sense then edits out all the connective pieces, the essentials that tie one scene to another. We understand cause and effect, but in his films he removes or distorts the cause and you're just left with effects. I.don't.like.that. Good luck if you attempt to watch Expand
  7. Jun 30, 2013
    I LOVED Primer. It was brilliant. This is an unwatchable mess. Dude's been reading his press clippings and believing he's the great genius of independent American cinema. DO NOT waste your time and money renting this thing.
  8. Apr 14, 2013
    Most critics have missed the symbolism. It's an allegory for the dictatorial control writers and directors have over their characters, and the problems that can arise because of it. But if anything this perception makes the movie worse. It highlights how much is truly arbitrary.
  9. Dec 1, 2013
    I think the most disturbing thing about this site is probably seen in the reaction to movies like this. I could see how this would be a divisive movie. It is not traditional, it feels long (even if it's only 90 minutes), it is oblique, etc. So if this received a number of diverse reviews from critics, that would be understandable. Of course, it hasn't received anything like a diverse reaction. There are currently 27 critic reviews, and not a single one is negative (at least to be judged by the color red). That is odd. Really odd. And I don't think it's unnatural that a lot of users have questioned why that is. There is obviously something that is causing reviewers to give this movie a pass. It should at least be divisive, but not amongst the critics, I guess. I like to maybe believe that it's because critics have seen so many movies that anything different is appreciated even when the different on display is not necessarily good. That said, I think a lot of darker explanations are probably more on point.

    I wanted to like this movie. The cinematography and the way a few scenes are pieced together is undoubtedly beautiful. I enjoyed the first 30 minutes. I did not need a standard narrative or any sort of coherent conclusion. At the same time, I'm not interested in the 30 last minutes of agony I saw through before the credits. I was truly struggling not to walk out. It was to that level of pain. It's not that the movie wasn't interesting. It's not that the movie didn't have a few commendable components. But seriously, this was not well done. It evinced almost no storytelling skill. It seemed like a basically untalented storyteller''s attempt to be relevant after he realized he didn't have the talent to tell a story conventionally. That's a guess. I could be wrong. At the same time, I cannot understand how 27 of 27 critics seemed to see a completely (completely!) different film than I did.
  10. Nov 19, 2013
    Anyone who rates this pretentious garbage above 0 is a brainwashed idiot. This movie is a huge waste of time with no character development, terrible acting, and annoying music and sound effects. DON'T EVEN BOTHER!
  11. Apr 30, 2013
    Almost a decade ago, Shane Carruth created "Primer," a low-budget sci-fi flick that developed a cult following for its complex ambiguity. This new one has a better quality look, arty even. It's edited with short cuts to keep it moving. But…the plot is totally obtuse. A man and woman have been part of some kind of enigmatic experiment involving a worm. There's also a guy who walks around recording sounds and tending to pigs. And "Walden." If you like to feel hip and love to dig deep for meaning, you're liable to find it perfect. Otherwise, there's lots of interesting imagery with no easy payoff. Expand
  12. Jun 8, 2014
    Don't be fooled by the high critic reviews, this movie is pretentious dribble. Very dull and no plot. Awful. It is also curious how EVERY review by critics on metacritic is positive. A simple search shows that there are negative critical reviews but metacritic doesn't publish these, why? Metacritic has a review from the guardian but another reviewer from the guardian wrote "(Upstream color) turned out to be a baffling, opaque mess" and gave it 2/5. That is curiously not mentioned on this cite and instead the movie has "universal acclaim". See: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/jan/23/sundance-festival-upstream-color-first-look-review .

    To sum up: this "movie" is dreadful and there seems to be an agenda to make it appear that it is well-received. Though who do rate the movie highly are pretentious idiots.

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Sep 2, 2013
    It is invigoratingly freaky and strange, with a Death-Valley-dry sense of humour somewhere underneath — though a little derivative sometimes. More than once, Carruth gives us a close-up on a hand ruminatively stroking a surface: very Malick. And the shots of creepy creatures swarming under the skin are very Cronenberg.
  2. Reviewed by: Trevor Johnston
    Aug 27, 2013
    If you’ve ever sat at your desk wondering whether there’s more to life, or been kept awake by an insidious hum in the darkness, this will speak to your soul – even as its enveloping, disturbing, uplifting story sends your mind reeling with giddy possibilities.
  3. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Aug 26, 2013
    How to sum up? You have to make synapse-spark connections, interpret events to your own satisfaction, pick up visual cues (a long stretch of the film is dialogue-free) and be happy with not knowing all the answers (you know, like in life — but not in most motion pictures). A perfectly judged, strikingly beautiful film, but also a lunatic enterprise which invites — even welcomes — befuddlement as much as wonder. A true original.