Upstream Color (ERBP) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Upstream Color

Studio: ERBP

Apr 04, 2013 Issue #45 - Winter 2013 - Phoenix
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“Art shouldn’t offer answers, only questions,” filmmaker Michael Haneke stated in a recent interview. Not exactly a surprising declaration from a provocateur of his stature, but it is an imperative that modern cinema largely lacks. Shane Carruth, however, is the embodiment of Haneke’s edict. His first film, 2004’s Primer, was a Byzantine tangle of time travel schemas, replete with attendant ethical quandaries. His newest film, Upstream Color, raises the stakes significantly in its sheer visceral impact.

It is incomprehensible on the surface-Kris (Amy Seimetz) is attacked and seemingly brainwashed after being forced to swallow a worm. She loses her savings and her job, and eventually crosses paths with Jeff (Carruth). The pair shares an ineluctable bond, with the implication being that Jeff has also lost everything due to a similar encounter. Their memories fold in on one another, images loop, and they struggle for redemption together, all with dreamy undertones reminiscent of Tarkovsky’s The Mirror.

Little is explicated, and the final third of the film takes place without dialogue, and yet it’s barely noticeable. Ultimately, in the sweet rush of emotion it inspires, the film suggests that the only questions even worth asking are the ones without answers. (

Author rating: 9/10

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