James Stewart stars as a railroad man hired to secretly carry a payroll despite his suspected connections to outlaws
Shane Carruth's second feature is an artful experiment in audience-addling alienation.
"I told you a story, and then you've taken it and made it your own - you do this all the time."
Kris (Amy Seimetz) is telling off Jeff (Shane Carruth) for confusing her childhood memory (of nearly drowning) with his - but this is only one of many confusions in a film full of mesmerism, deja vu, metempsychosis and parasitism. For in Upstream Colour, feelings are vicarious, thoughts are surrogate, and experiences are had by (porcine) proxy, as these bewildered lovers, having unwittingly ingested a mind-altering grub, struggle to reclaim their fractured sense of identity.
After tying viewers' brains in knots with his time-travel debut Primer (2004), polyhyphenate filmmaker Carruth returns to the theme of multiplied identity with a feature that, for all its strict chronological ordering, continues to confound with a set of parallel narratives whose precise interrelationship remains stunningly oblique. Carruth eschews easy exposition, instead deploying staccato editing, story-leaping match cuts, cool framing and organic sound design to hypnotise viewers into making their own connections between all his oneiric riffing - even if the actual explanatory frame, divulged by Carruth in interviews and readily available online, seems something of a pig in a poke compared to the wilder places to which this film's free associations might take us.
Still, even if the film's Lynch-like psychogenic fugue comes with a microbial solution of sorts, there is greater pleasure to be had in losing yourself (much as Kris does) to the throbbing ebb and flow of its motifs and ideas, as they get right under the skin. What could be better, after all, than to make Carruth's story your own?
Carruth's mindmelt of mesmerism, metempsychosis and micro-organisms will leave some a little cold, most bemused if not utterly baffled, and near all needing to see it a second time.
The Glasgow Film Festival programme is announced and features Film4-backed films Second Coming and Catch Me Daddy plus much, much more, from 18th February to 1st March It¿s almost time once more for
As Louise Osmond's inspirational documentary about an unlikely group of friends who breed themselves a racehorse is about to premiere at Sundance 2015, Catherine Bray catches up with the director for
Find out who voted for Film4.com's list of the top 100 must-see films of the 21st Century so far
A tooth-chattering voyage through the scariest movies ever made
@Film4 "I can't believe what a bunch of nerds we are." Hullo, night owls! We've a treat for you at 12:30am: Mike Judge's cult comedy Office Space.
@Film4 @AmandaFBelfast We'd kick up a fuss, but that's flawless use of the stapler reference, so we'll let you off... this time. Sweet dreams!
@Film4 Our late-night highlight at 12.30am is Mike Judge’s workplace comedy Office Space, starring Ron Livingston. http://t.co/v42etLtM7x
@Film4 Enjoying The Godfather? The Corleone Saga continues with Parts II and III tomorrow night from 9pm. http://t.co/PfT5m4sqtC
@Film4 At 12.30am, we're showing @MikeJudge's Office Space. His recent appearance on @marcmaron's @wtfpod is worth a listen: http://t.co/0DhMljM16X