I don’t know what happens in Shane Carruth’s ethereally beautiful new film, “Upstream Color.” Well, that’s not exactly accurate–I know what I think happens in this story of pigs, worms, starlings and a new couple. Early in the viewing I realized that the film’s narrative was elusive yet powerfully hypnotic and even before the impossible orchids began showing up, very moving.
A math major in college, Carruth is what they call a septuple threat (or would, if that had ever happened before)–he wrote, directed, plays the male lead, Jeff (opposite amazing Amy Seimetz as Kris), shot, co-edited, produced and scored “Upstream Color.” And his company, erbp, is releasing the film.
There really isn’t a comparison to be made between “The Tree of Life” and “Upstream Color,” except as a convenient shorthand to indicate sublime beauty and an unconventional approach to storytelling. I loved the Terrence Malick film (dinosaurs and all) but even if you hated it (and the world does split up like that), risk the experience that is “Upstream Color.”
“Upstream Color” will open Friday, April 5 in New York at the IFC Center and expand with a national roll-out to follow in April and early May. It also will be available on all digital platforms and home video on May 7.