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Upstream Color

by Kilian Melloy
Monday May 6, 2013
Upstream Color

Shane Carruth, the guy who brought audiences the incredibly knotty time-travel brain twister "Primer," has an even bigger fish to fry with his new movie.

Where Carruth's 2004 debut "Primer" was complicated, "Upstream Color" is complex; where "Primer" was convoluted, this new film is fairly straightforward (its concepts are relatively easy to grasp, if hard to explain), but positions itself over philosophical terrain so wide and profound that most of its larger ramifications can only be implied. Wisely, "Upstream Color" focuses closely and tightly on only two people, Kris (Amy Seimatz) and Jeff (Carruth).

There's no use getting into the plot here, because honestly it takes the film's entire running time to present its ideas. Suffice it to say that two victims left damaged by a scam relying on the unusual properties of an exotic caterpillar (grub? Worm?) find themselves unaccountably connected in a deep, synergistic way. What they do next includes revenge, but also exceeds it: Ecology, evolution, and psychic linkages all come into play in this film's cunningly contoured arena.

This Blu-ray / DVD combo pack release hits the streets only a month after the film reached theaters -- another sign, perhaps, of the accelerating market cycle for cinema fare. The DVD disc is sadly bereft of any special features save for the theatrical trailer and two ad spots for the film. But it hardly matters: If you like your movies beautifully filmed and edited (a la Terrence Malick), ethereally performed, and intellectually meaty, you need to buy this one. Repeated viewings will be a must.

"Upstream Color"
Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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