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Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 92 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Feb 5, 2013
    You may not be able to figure it out, but that's part of the point of this sensually-directed, sensory-laden experiential (and experimental) piece of art that washes over you like a sonorous bath of beguiling visuals, ambient sounds and corporeal textures.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Apr 25, 2013
    It’s all a neat trick. Or exercise. Or brain-teaser. Whatever you want to call it, Upstream Color is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. But once you have seen it, once isn’t going to be enough
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Feb 5, 2013
    Upstream Colors certainly is something to see if you’re into brilliant technique, expressive editing, oblique storytelling, obscuritanist speculative fiction or discovering a significant new actress.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Apr 4, 2013
    So Upstream Color is defiantly pitched in its own idiosyncratic key, but it bears the unmistakable influence of Carruth’s fellow Texan Terrence Malick and also of Steven Soderbergh’s early films.
  7. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Apr 2, 2013
    No one is going to explain any of this for you — and the slightly snobby implication of Upstream Color is that explanations are for suckers.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 26
  2. Negative: 11 out of 26
  1. Jun 28, 2013
    This is an absolutely amazing movie. If you've seen and liked Primer, you'll like this too. The true greatness of the writing is evident when 45 minutes in, you're still wondering what's going on, and you haven't gotten bored. I put a lot of movies back after 20 minutes, because there's no hook in the writing. But this has a hook. It's ethereal. It's emotional. It's beautiful. Expand
  2. Jun 11, 2013
    The last shot of this film? Breathtaking, amazing, heartwarming--you name it. Loved this film a lot, (even though I might not fully understand what the actual hell was happening half the time). Expand
  3. Jul 22, 2013
    A real filmmaker with original vision, Carruth has followed up the brilliant "Primer" with an equally perplexing, intriguing and captivating film. What T. Malick tried with horrible results to create in "Tree of Life," Carruth has succeeded in, particularly by being a man of science rather than a man of faith (nods to "Lost."). Expand
  4. Jan 12, 2014
    Almost a decade after his befuddling debut PRIMER (2004, 6/10), UPSTREAM COLOR, the jack-of-all-trades Shane Carruth’s greatly anticipated second film arrives with a splashy strut to renounce himself as a flash in the pan because it is a more ambitious, mythological and introspective dissection of a preternatural communications among life forms (in particular, human, pigs, grubs and lilies).

    A young woman Kris (Seimetz) abducted by a thief (Martins), who plants parasitic grubs into her body, hypnotically mind-controls her and embezzles all her money from the bank; after the thief left, a mysterious swineherd aka. The Sampler (Sensenig) removes the grubs out of her system, grafts them inside a piglet, therefore forms an uncanny interrelation between Kris and the piglet, then releases Kris back to her normal life, through the piglet the Sampler can observe his specimen in his pig farm. Afterward, Kris meets Jeff (Carruth himself), and they bond together romantically, filters through their trips and spats, spectators will realize Jeff is another sample, their memories intermingle with each other, Kris suffers from auditory hallucinations, both slip into mental instability. Later on, things emerge to a crescendo, they trace the path to the Sampler’s farm and all the human guinea pigs are assembled to reunite with their porcine linkages.

    My account may not be 100% accurate as in Carruth’s narrative everything is shattered in fragments and the film is overcrowded with inexplicable behavioral quirks and environmental drifts, the exhausting duologue with abstruse drabness doesn’t help either. But it is the originality that being salient here to broaden our horizons within a micro Sci-Fi scale, Carrith’s execution may be controversial for what it is worth suggested from his two films so far, without doubt he is a mastermind with transcendental imagination which is a rare bird in the woods of derivativeness and stereotypes.

    The Sampler in the movie is also a sound collector, so consistently there are protruding sound effects abound, from lower bass humming, crispy ding-dong, intangible rumbling to tepid string droning, married with mannered montages drenched in dazzling timber, if this isn’t an epitome of equivocality between highbrow solipsism and ostentatious narcissism, I cannot think anything else.

    Amy Seimetz (from THE KILLING Season 3) is the unwavering leading lady in this film, gives a performance seething with unpredictable neurosis, breakdowns, helplessness and determination. While Carruth, the director, writer, cinematographer, composer and actor, whom one just cannot avoid be awed and overpraising.

    Obviously like PRIMER, it is another film ramifies dissonant readings and interpretations, but if it will ever reach the criterion of prime precedents like Mulholland Dr. (2001, 9/10), an earnest advice to Mr. Carruth, getting out of the esoteric comfort zone a little, demystifying the undecipherable a bit and taking a deep breath before editing the fodder.
  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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

See all 26 User Reviews


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