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Upstream Color (Shane Caruth, 2013)

A young woman is purposely infested by a parasite that turns her into a kind of zombie. She is then robbed of all her possessions.



Relentlessly praised on the internet, I had extremely high expectations for this film. I can't say I was disappointed but the story felt a bit long and too much focused on the mystery of the woman's transformation. Things come together in the end, but I there were some stretches in the movie were I felt a bit overwhelmed by the symbolism and the dream-like sequences.


One thing to notice is the camera work. The film was shot on a low budget, and the director decided to use many close-ups. There are noticeable few wide shots - which I think are the most fun to film. I noticed that I really prefer careful compositions that are a bit wider, but I can imagine the situation of this shoot. This choice of camera, quite possibly dictated by budget restrictions led to a very fast editing style, that doesn't give the story time to breathe and the actors space to act.

Although many of the short sequences inbetween are visually stunning, the film felt nervous, despite the story developing relatively slow.


One of many exceptions to this are the first five minutes of the film: The editing is perfect and the story, although absolutely unclear, builds an incredible suspense. Somewhat later I didn't had that feeling anymore - maybe I was guessing too much about a possible ending and the connections that were visually established. 

 Nevertheless, a fascinating piece of next generation sci-fi - I hope it will do well.




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