Kris (Amy Seimetz) is drugged by a man (Thiago Martins) with something based on a worm that makes her entirely susceptible to his suggestions. He uses that to give her nonsensical instructions while he clears out her accounts. After that Kris is summoned to a pig farm where the worm is drained out of her. When Kris wakes up from her state, her life is destroyed. It is only when she meets Jeff (Shane Carruth) with whom she forms an immediate, pretty much metaphysical connection that she starts to piece together what happened to her – and him.
Upstream Color was the last film I saw at this year’s Viennale and simultaneously one of the films I looked forward to the most, having heard only good things about Primer (which I have yet to see). Unfortunately things didn’t really go my way.
The first half hour or so, I was completely enchanted by the film. The thief, the weird maggot, Amy Seimetz’ great acting, the entire concept had me in its thrall and I was completely engrossed. And then the movie stopped being interesting, all of a sudden. And then I fell asleep, catching only bits and pieces after that.
“Maybe I was just really tired”, I thought. “The first bit was so fantastic, I’ll just have to watch it again when I’m not that tired.” So I did. And again, the first half hour was wonderful. And then the movie suddenly became boring as hell. And it turned out I hadn’t actually missed that much from the film when I fell asleep, it just was that disjointed.
And then it stopped being boring and became supermetaphysical and annoying. By the time something interesting started happening again, the movie had lost all my patience and my goodwill and I didn’t care if it was interesting again, was it finally done?!
It’s a film that puts depth above else. But depth is a relative measure: without shallow bits it doesn’t work and just becomes shallow itself. Especially if it wasn’t quite as deep to begin with as it thought it was.
Summarizing: So not my cup of tea.