An experience like Upstream Color is the most rewarding one I hope for when going to the theater. It’s engaging due to its complexity, it’s thought-provoking, it’s so abstract that metaphors are pervasive and symbolism evident, and it leaves on a note that asks a simple question: “When can I see that again?” Very rarely do I leave a theater thinking to myself that I need to see a film again, not out of the need to understand it, but to fill my desire to let a film play over me like Upstream Color did. It’s an eerie science fiction love story centering on…well, it’s best if you don’t know anything going in, like myself. It’s reminiscent of The Tree of Life for me, in that it’s definitive in its greatness, understanding of its artistic vision (to a fault, at times), and weird on a level that only makes the fairly simplistic story more engaging. Carruth’s vision here is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before; I’m not sure if that qualifies it as a masterpiece, but it might be the first film of 2013 where I demand that everyone see it, if only to hear of the vastly different experiences we’ll all have.
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